the other day, a sweet email popped into my inbox from rikkianne of chakrapennywhistle, whose work i've admired for some time now. she is creating a really thoughtful series of posts for re-nest, and asked if i'd share a few words on the process of hand pulled printing.
since it's something i've been giving a good amount of thought to anyway lately, i was more than happy to send her a few lines. here's a bit of what i wrote:
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then hand pulling screen prints is a little insane. Once you have the screen made, hand pulling prints is a quick, repetitive process, but each print is ever so slightly different. I enjoy hand printing because I get into the rhythm of it - you can really let your mind wander when you're in the middle of a large run.
Personally, I love seeing little inconsistencies on a print - it's a joy discovering little flaws that reveal something about how the print was made and knowing there's not another exactly like it. The other thing I've always found fascinating about hand printing is the amount of time it takes to actually prepare the design + make the screen vs. the quick nature of pulling a print vs. how you can then spend an inordinate number of hours printing the same print over + over. It's a deceptively laborious yet quick yet sometimes tedious process.
Over six years ago, I began screen printing by hand mostly because I realized it was probably the easiest, least expensive way to get my drawings onto interesting, useful things. For me, it's always been more about what I'm printing - my illustrations - than the actual process of printing itself. As a self-taught printer, I'm very self-conscious of how I hand pull prints. I've made very intentional decisions to keep my prints as simple as possible - one color, line based - as an effort to make it more about what I'm printing than the printing itself. Keeping the process and the design of equal significance is important to me.
click here for the whole article, along with links to other more articulate and thought provoking redefinitions from others artists. there are some really great reads over there! enjoy!