PROCESS: printing with cut outs

 
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Printing using paper cutouts is part of the aeand aesthetic, but also an approach to printmaking which we believe to be spontaneous, creative and importantly, sustainable.


 
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Various recycled paper is used to create the cutouts, saving packaging paper from received shipments to be reused, recycled kraft paper and other scrap papers. The paper used for the cutouts needs to be of the right thickness, so to not breakdown as it becomes moist once printed with.

Free form shapes are drawn onto the paper in no particular order, pulling inspiration from sketchbooks and other visual diaries like mood-boards and photographs. The shapes are then cut out, considering not only the drawn shapes, but also the negative space around them and how they can too be used, keeping all parts of the paper cutouts with no waste.

Fabric is prepped by ironing first and then flattening to the print surface with either pins or tape, ensuring the weave of the fabric is not warped or overstretched. Paper cutouts are laid out one section at a time to create the pattern. The printing process uses a silkscreen, which is a fabric mesh stretched across either a wooden or metal frame. The mesh acts almost like a sieve, allowing the ink to pass through in a controlled manner. before printing, the edges around the mesh side of the screen are taped to create a frame which will give the print clean, straight edges. The screen is laid on top of the paper cutouts mesh side down, and a small weight added on top of one edge of the frame to ensure the frame doesn’t move as the ink is being passed through.

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Using a spatula or spoon, the ink is added inside the frame along the bottom edge ensuring there is enough to cover the full length of the screen as it is passed through. A squeegee is used to evenly ‘flood’ & ‘pull’ the ink through the screen. Squeegees are made with a blade, or strip of rubber which is secured between a wide flat handle of either wood or metal. With the squeegee, the ink is gently pushed up to the top of the screen and then pulled back down the screen with pressure. As the ink passes through the open mesh, the paper cutouts act as a barrier between the ink and the fabric leaving the areas covered by paper unprinted. Carefully removing the squeegee, the screen is gently lifted from the fabric to reveal the print.

The moisture of the ink will have stuck the paper stencils in place to the mesh of the screen, to create a repeat print the same stencils can be used again. For our more experimental printed textiles, the cutouts are carefully removed from the screen and set aside to be reused later. New paper pieces are laid down on the next section of fabric, playing with composition section by section. Aligning the taped edge of the screen to the edge of the previous printed section as the screen is laid down again on top of the paper cutouts. Working across the length of the fabric joining each printed section at a time, using an A4 sized screen, it takes approximately 1 hour to complete printing 1 metre of fabric.

Our textiles are printed using synthetic water-based inks free from plastic and harmful chemicals, onto 100% natural fibres such as linen and organic cotton. Aeand has previously partnered with independent stores such as Earl of East & Form, to host small group workshops, introducing the process of printed textiles with cutouts. If you’re interested in hosting a workshop as part of a retail experience or private event we’d love to hear from you info@aeand.com

To purchase made to order printed textiles by the metre, please get in touch at the above email.

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Alessandra Chambers