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Spree Style with Erin Habes: Just screen print it

Erin Habes

A new year brings a fresh outlook, and with it the urge to learn new things, try different foods, and travel to faraway places. As my thirties begin to take hold, I’ve decided to start a bucket list of fun, attainable, and affordable gems that will surely bring joy to my everyday life. I like to think of all these new and exciting adventures as a way to add to my personal repertoire of “super powers”. A trip to the Western New York Book Arts Center provided me with the perfect x-ray vision view into the art world I’ve been craving. How do you screen print?

The secrets were revealed in a beginner level “Screen Printing 101” class, which was split up over two weeks for maximum creative production. I resisted shopping for a week and saved up the class fee of $60 ($48 members) plus a $10 materials fee. Well worth the sacrifice, I might add. I really had no idea what to expect, but a brief email was sent to the class stating “you’ll get dirty” and that students should “bring your ideas”. Such pressure! My ideas ... what was I going to pick? Some vintage ’83 -’85 Interview magazines saved the day; a purchase I scored a couple months ago. A perfect selection—surely I would find something cool to sketch.

Eager to begin, with the hope that this would be a major success and my walls would soon be exploding with screen printed art, we began the learning process. Quickly diving into the jargon of screen printing, we learned about the light sensitive emulsion that's applied to the screen and how to use the light box machine. Then we each picked our poison. With high hair and huge shoulder pads, actress Cybil Shepherd graced the cover of the Interview mag I selected. Within its pages, the pop art face of a woman with big, bold sunglasses instantly caught my eye and the sketching process began. 

Once my circs 1980s rock star was traced onto vellum paper and filled in simply with a black marker, week two was upon us. The small group returned with the thirst to burn some screens and play with wild and crazy colors, bringing our sketches to life. Practicing over and over, I soon got the hang of it, and ahppily spent the entire night screen printing. With great direction from our teacher, we screened multiple colors, used fun metallic paper, bright neons, murky darks, and layered all of our different patterns together to make a crazy class wall-hanging.

Walking away with 20 different prints, this class was well worth it. An inexpensive way to learn a new skill, gifting won’t be hard in the future. I’m happily stocked for the time being. Flying and super human strength might be out of reach, but WNYBAC is chock-full of fun when it comes to creative workshops. Build your empire, enjoy learning at any age, and empower your super power. Thanks WNYBAC!




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