Zeena Shah is a name that most people who are in the print and craft world know very well. Her work is instantly recognisable and has worked with some of the most coveted names in her field. She’s a #girlboss of the UK print world. And what’s more- she has just released a book which is arguably the most accessible printing book I have ever read.
I was kindly invited by Zeena and Stitch Craft Create to choose a short extract from the book to share with you as part of their blog hop for this release. Although each project certainly has its appeal, I ended up selecting one of the most basic of them all. What I love about this piece, and indeed the entire book, is the sheer gung-ho energy that Zeena brings through each project. Complete beginners are given the tools to have a go, no matter what the outcome; while the pros are reminded of the imperfect beauty that low-fi printing can offer.
Zeena’s project Paintbrush Painting from the book is as simple as it gets. Deliciously straight forward, only as complicated as you wish to make it, any imperfections to be welcomed and embraced- and it feels rather like breaking the rules! Here we go…
There is something lovely about the marks you can make with just a paintbrush and some ink. This technique for fabric painting focuses on the simplicity of the idea of mark making in print design and is a truly valuable skill.
You will need: Fabric, medium to heavy weight / Fabric screen printing ink / Paintbrushes, wide width / Plate for ink / Trick marker or pencil / Scissors / Ruler / Tape / Iron / Scrap fabric
01- Carefully select the paintbrushes you will be using for this project. I chose 3 different size ones with soft textures, as I want to see the fibers when printing. Put your ink on a plate.
02- Using a piece of scrap fabric, experiment with the marks you can make with your chosen brushes and fabric ink. Vary the pressure and stroke widths to create interesting marks, then select your favorite ready for printing.
03- Set up your printing fabric, pressing it to remove any visible creases before taping it in to place. Mark in pencil or trick marker a guideline for your repeat pattern design – I set the elements of my design about 5 cm (2in) apart.
04- Start painting the ink on to the fabric as marked. On the plate adjust the consistency of the ink as necessary with a little water – I find the technique works best when the ink is quite thick.
05- Build up your design with your chosen brush marks, following the guidelines you have marked.
I hope you have enjoyed this slice of rule-breaking creativity! To find out how Zeena uses this printed fabric to make this excellent beanbag check out the book. Indeed I urge budding and seasoned printers alike to take a closer look at this wonderful publication for all the guidance, inspiration and fearlessness it has to offer! (Dare I point out the obvious and say that it’d make the perfect Christmas gift?!).