35 years of textile samples, part 1: early screen prints

The day began with a search for a larger container to store fabric teaching samples. It ended with a journey through 35 years of creating fabrics.  I had already edited through these samples in previous years. It’s  a convenient time to do more. Consolidation and simplicity are freeing.

So many studio directions I’d forgotten about! Pathways through handwoven and warp painted textiles. Through silk screened, handpainted pears that I was quilting for a commission on the day I delivered my first child. Playing with cassava resists. Discharge. Silk painting.  Clamp resists and shibori. Odd little paintings and stitched, painted canvas. Pigment-printed cottons, and a few fabrics stiff with residual sodium alginate (not good.)

In recent years, more a mastery of layered fabric images and color, which you can see in the pieces on my website. Glad for that.

In the several posts that follow, I describe a selection of samples and describe their techniques.

sample mix
a hodgepodge of samples by Astrid Hilger Bennett

Early pear screen prints

My first official screen print (1975, top image), using two screens and Lacquer film stencils. One labored to carefully cut only one layer from the stencil, which was then adhered to the screen using awful, smelly, toxic solvents. Use too much solvent, and your screen would dissolve. This was my first introduction to modular design. Britex fabric paints on whatever fabric was available. The Pear screens were used to create a public art piece, Pears at Play, then purchased for Indiana University-Gary Library. The last image shows screen printed interpretations of drawings made while traveling around the United States for 6 weeks in 1976.

eraser print studies, 1975
Eraser print studies, 1975. These were used to explore the concept of modular design and registration for screen printing. We HATED this assignment, but now I value the knowledge I gained.
Fish screen based on minnow drawings while supervising a 3 year old,  1988. Screenprinted using ProFab fabric paints by ProChemical & Dye. Background colors applied as thickened Procion MX Dyes.
printing for table ware
Screen prints for table cloths, 1991, with Pro-Fab fabric paints and thickened Procion MX dyes
Pear screen prints on linen
Pear screen prints on linen
Crow screen print, used on canvas bags, 1992. Heat setting these Pro-Fab Fabric paints is vital. At left, a properly heat set sample. At right, one that was not heat set.