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Printmaking Workshop at Meadowbank TAFE

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by Irenke Forsyth (subscribe)
A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at
Published May 16th 2015
Art for art's sake
As part of the Hungry for Art Festival, I got an insight into the world of printmaking in a free workshop that went through the processes of making artworks via a printing machine and silkscreen press.

Held at the Sydney Gallery School at Meadowbank TAFE, the teachers explained etching, linocuts and lithographs, solarplates and collagraphs, as well as different products used and how to get different effects. We got to use an 1883 printing press to make a postcard and the silkscreen press to print a logo on a paper bag.

Printing press
Silk screen printing

It whetted my appetite for more, especially with all the fantastic prints on display along the corridor walls, some made by students and others produced by the teachers. It made me wonder why I never liked art in school, probably because it was forced upon me. The workshop also had me thinking about how great it would be to make my own art, have it framed and hanging on my walls instead of buying someone else's art.

Printmaking art

I would love to unleash my creativity some more and I was led to ask about courses. Meadowbank TAFE has a number of short courses and Open Studio Practice courses as well as longer courses that result in a Diploma or Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts.

The short courses are great for beginners and those aspiring to pursue a career as an artist. They include Drawing Skills & Techniques, an Introduction to Painting, and Printmaking Skills & Techniques. Running from 9-18 weeks, you'll learn from professionals in the industry and get to exhibit your work in the See Street Gallery, which is part of TAFE.

Here's a definition of some of the types of prints and printmaking techniques you'll come across if you decide to do a course.

Screen print - a form of stencil printing where the stencil is adhered to a screen for support and ink is then dragged through the material onto paper using a squeegee. It's also known as silk screen and serigraphy.

Etching - a means of cutting lines in a metal plate using acid and a stylus or needle.

Linocuts - a relief print carved in linoleum rather than wood.

Relief print - any print in which the image printed is from raised portions of a carved, etched or cast block, for example, a rubber stamp.

Lithograghs - a printing technique involving an image drawn onto a flat slab of limestone and chemically treated so that ink, when rolled on, only adheres to where the drawing was done. The inked image can then be transferred to paper using a high pressure press.

Solarplate printing - less toxic than etching, it involves creating a drawing on acetate and placing it face down onto a special plate, putting a piece of glass on top, clamping it together and taking it out to a sunny spot where nature works its magic. Light passes through the film onto the polymer surface and hardens it. Any areas not exposed, hidden by the drawing, will be washed out in water.

Collagraphs - a collage printmaking technique where materials, such as papers, fabric and even leaves, are placed on a flat base or plate to form a relief block with different surface levels and textures. The materials are glued on and then coated with varnish. Ink up and put through a press. Many variations and effects can be produced using different options, such as crepe paper, string, masking tape and rice. You can use any material for the plate as long as it is not too bulky or sharp that it rips the paper when you print it.
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Why? For the next step in life
Phone: 131 674
Where: Meadowbank TAFE
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