Apparently, mass confinement, necessitated by the Covid 19 virus, has seen a huge spike in demand for craft products. This is understandable as people with time on their hands seek creative diversion. I learned how to screen-print as a disaffected youth incarcerated at boarding school and have kept my hand in ever since.

screen print frames

A few years ago I taught my son Will the basics so I was gratified to see him embark on a new screen last weekend. My younger (impecunious) self used to make screens from wine boxes and curtain netting but these days you can get them pre-stretched 'off the shelf' at all good craft retailers.

Will Yapp - screen print

Creating a screen is quite a fiddly and time consuming business involving painting a detailed 'negative' image on to stretched silk so it can be reproduced as a 'positive' on T-shirts and posters. The actual printing process itself is gratifyingly simple although steady hands are required. You run a bead of ink, or specialist fabric dye, across the top (or bottom) of the interior frame of your screen then use a 'squeegee' or wiper blade to draw the ink through the silk and on to the paper or fabric below.

screen print frame

Once you have mastered monochrome you can then graduate up to using multiple screens to produce more colourful images. Personally, I favour 'Old School' single screen images on T-shirts and I am delighted to have kept the craft alive and passed it on to a family member.

Tandem screen print

I took this image from the side of a case of Alain Graillot's 'Tandem' Syrah du Maroc having previously deployed a similar stamp from a case of 1970s Hermitage from Domaine Jean-Louis Chave.

Tandem screen print T-shirt

So, if you are at loose end over lockdown you might want to have a go at screen-printing, or pottery or weaving or any other craft activity. The key thing to remember is that much of the pleasure is in the process not the end result. It doesn't really matter if you make a hash of it. You will have learned something that will improve your next effort and hopefully enjoyed yourself at the same time. There may never be a better opportunity to discover your inner artisan!

JY screen print