Last week our class had the pleasure of working with Haylee Ebersole, founder of Meshwork Press, once again in her studio located in Wilkinsburg, PA. This time around, instead of working in letterpress, Haylee taught us how to screen print using silkscreening. Screen printing is a hands-on alternative to digital printing, where “One screen (mesh stencil) is used for each color to be printed – screens must be lined up (or registered) and printed on test sheets to ensure that all of the colors line up correctly. Inks are then pushed through the screens one color at a time onto the apparel. Finally, each piece is run through a large dryer to cure the inks” (“The Screen Printing Process”). But, this wasn’t just an exercise in creativity, these screen prints were made with a purpose.
Eulalia books, “publishes one book per year in its Joe O’Connor Poetry Series, which is dedicated to cultivating the poets who live in the Laurel Highlands or who are Saint Vincent alums, who have never published a book before” (Eulalia Books). This series is beginning with O’Connor’s poetry chapbook entitled, Why poetry? and our class is responsible for producing it. After meeting with Joe and discussing the contents of the chapbook, students got to work on designing the cover, which was created by a fellow Saint Vincent College alumnus. Our excursion last Wednesday was dedicated to bringing the covers into existence.
Thanks to Haylee’s skill and guidance, our class quickly got to work, splitting up into teams of 3 or 4 people per screen printer. Because of the hands-on nature of screen printing, each cover is unique and delightfully imperfect. Each cover shows that a real human being put themselves into it. While the color scheme was consistently blues and greens the shades differed – a testament to the collective effort of the class and the individual work of the student. In all, the process of making the covers for Why Poetry? was just plain fun, in a lot of ways, childlike, and getting our hands dirty felt good.
“About.” Eulalia Books, https://www.eulaliabooks.com/about.
“The Screen Printing Process.” Screen Printing Process, How Screen Printing Works, https://www.threadbird.com/the-screen-printing-process.