Thermofax printing workshops

16th and 23rd March 2016


A fellow OCA student is branching into workshops, and I decided to take part in her Thermofax screen taster sessions. The sessions involved producing and testing imagery, making, and printing from a Thermofax screen. 

The use of Thermofax screens is similar to screen printing. However, given the cost of Thermofax machines, the probability of me ever needing to make my own is low. Despite this, the sessions were valuable from the perspective of understanding of what type of image works best. Unfortunately, my own inkjet printer was unsuitable (the image did not transfer to the screen). Charcoal pencil, Pitt pen, graphite pencil, photocopied image (must be black and white) all work well. Tonal images can be difficult, although in some instances they will give good results.

During the first session, I based my pattern on an image of reflections on the surface of a swimming pool.

I took this image and traced the shapes of the reflections of the sunlight.

I used part of this image to make a screen, which I printed from as a single print on calico:

I then experimented by printing on Japanese tissue and overlaying the image onto the one above:

The shadows are interesting. I also printed multiple images onto calico. In all cases he print medium was Selectacine.

I love the textural effect of overlapping the print screen – lots of complex new shapes and a texture that reminds me of tree bark. In the print above I have used a single colour. In the images below I have printed onto butter muslin and used light grey and dark charcoal grey. The muslin is see-through so it has produced a really interesting effect. 

Both images are the same print. Above is the right side, below is the wrong side. I actually prefer the shadowy effect of the print media showing through the cloth on the wrong side.

This work is documented in Sketchbook 1 of “Exploring ideas: Reveal and conceal”, pages 11-12.

In the second workshop, I produced three screens with very different imagery. The first was an image from an advert in a 1940s newspaper. Because the newspaper was discoloured and textured, I had to trace the image to make it suitable for use in the Thermofax.

The photo below shows my print on a calico bag. 

It is a lovely image and it works well as a print. However, personally, I prefer prints which are 1) more original, 2) more textural or abstract.

I also made a couple of abstract prints. I have not had time to explore the potential of these fully. The examples below are my first prints and could be developed much more.

This is a net-like image, which incorporated two different thicknesses of lines. The print is on butter muslin with two different colours of Selectacine print medium.

This screen was made form a charcoal pencil drawing of scribbled circles, and is printed with Selectacine onto butter muslin. I think it could be very effective if combined/contrasted with other images (although it is not particularly striking on it’s own).



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