Tucked away inside a historic building, the main gallery was originally the very first council chamber in South Australia, built in 1855. In 2012 the building was refurbished and completely transformed into a versatile creative space with the assistance of federal and local government.
What exactly is screen printing? Well, it's an artistic technique where ink is transferred through a fine mesh screen onto a material such as paper or fabric. The shape of the print is determined by a blocking stencil created out of an impermeable piece of paper or plastic.
Screen printing is super fun and quite easy to do once you know how. Jake took us through a complete introductory workshop to learn the basics of screen printing our very one hand-cut designs onto tea towels.
First though he took us on a tour of the gallery to check out some screen printing examples already on display in the exhibition and talk us through the different kinds of screen printing techniques used to create them. It was fascinating to see the different styles of images that can be created with this awesome creative art form.
Jake showing screen print examples in the exhibition room.
Back in the art room at Gallery 1855, we took some time to draw our designs on glossy paper and cut them out before taping them onto our screens. Heads up: If you head to one of these workshops, we definitely recommend coming prepared with a few stencil designs in mind. :)
What stencil will you create? Freestyle, geometric, or something in between?
Next, we learned how to prepare the screens for printing by first 'flooding' the ink onto the screen before pressing on an actual print coat. This took a few practice runs on paper to get the hang of, but once we did we were ready to try printing onto our tea towels.
Now, there are plans in the pipeline for more screen printing workshops at Gallery 1855 later in the year, but until then there are some other amazing workshops you should definitely check out. They're being presented as part of the Print Council of Australia's 50th Anniversary celebrations and the 2016 Year of Print, so it's time to get creative and learn some amazing new artistic skills!
Stitched Up - Saturday 25th June 2016 (10am - 4.30pm)
Learn to make simple artists books by cutting, gluing, stitching and repurposing magazines and other printed materials with Barbara Coddington (writer and artist) and Simone Tippett (print artist). Price: $45 per person, covering all materials (pay on the day).
Pick your favourite colour from the screen printing inks.
Drypoint - Sunday 17th July 2016 (10am - 4.30pm)
Learn to make a drypoint plate and print it onto an etching press with print artist Simone Tippett. Price: $50 per person, covering all materials (pay on the day).
Keen to try your hand at a workshop or just want to join the mailing list for updates? Get in touch with Niki Vouis, Arts & Cultural Director of the City of Tea Tree Gully by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a call on 08 8397 7216.
Exhibitions are held regularly so head to Gallery 1855 and check them out.
Exhibitions at Gallery 1855
The current exhibition (celebrating the Australian Print Commission's 2016 Year of Print) is open until 25th June, so be sure to pop in for a visit. For the past 50 years, the PCA has commissioned 10 prints per year from contemporary Australian artists and printmakers. This exhibition charts the personal, social and political concerns of the past 50 years, as well as changes in material practice. It's a great exhibition for anyone interested in works on paper, printmaking and the way our country has changed over time.
Gallery 1855 welcomes exhibition proposals from artists at any time of the year. To learn more, get in touch with Niki via email email@example.com or 08 8397 7216, or check out the Gallery 1855 website.