Other than that, everything else with this project was a disaster and screen printing totally won the battle. Most of my issues were my fault. I planned, I prepared, I thought I was ready to go.
The kids came in and were excited to print. There were 28 of them there today, 5 paint splatter screens, 3 word screens and one of me. My biggest problem? Too much choice. With 28 kids and one of me, I should have limited their ink colors or made them all do a one color print instead of having two colors. But with every possible color and every kid doing two colors, it was nuts. About 15 minutes in to our session, I told them to text their parents to come 30 minutes later. I knew immediately that we would need more time. The kids really wanted to take charge but that also caused problems. They were putting on too much ink, running it into the edges of the screen, not putting it back in the jar and then dropping the screen in the sink. HUGE waste of ink. OR...they were printing and leaving their screens just sitting there while I was running around like a crazy person trying to get people set up, cleaning tools/screens, etc. which then ruined the screens when the ink dried in them. And because some of the screens weren;t wasbed out fast enough, the screens couldn't be aligned/registered properly (I told them it was artistic and if anyone said anything, to tell them that they made their own shirt and it was an artistic choice to do it the way they did). OR...there was ink ALL over the table and I don't know how many times I told them to clean the tables before they put their shirts down so they didn't get ink on their shirts...did they listen? NO! Just about every kid had ink on their shirts in places they didn't want. We were trying to clean screens and dry them quickly so we could do other colors and were using a hair dryer to dry them. Someone burned holes in the screen and left it by my desk and when I asked about it, nobody fessed up but I know they were burn holes.
Not only were we printing t-shirts but the kids who weren't printing at the time were working on ceiling tiles...who also wanted/needed me for various reasons. I was seriously running around like a crazy person. I heard comments like, "this is stressful"...um yeah! But I also heard, "my t-shirt is swagtastic". I will take swagtastic. This whole ordeal reminds me of my student teaching when I decided to teach a lesson to 1st graders on monoprinting (why is it always the printmaking that gets so crazy? Printmaking it my favorite, it should go smoothly). I did a lot of reflecting after that lesson on how it could be less out of control. I am doing the same thing now. But maybe sometimes I need to let go of the control. The kids made awesome t-shirts. They had fun (even if it was stressful) and they all got the t-shirt they wanted. That's worth it right? Would I change things
if when I do it again? Probably! But am I happy with the results? ABSOLUTELY!
Enjoy some pictures from our crazy day of screen printing!
Hard at work
More work pictures
Applying the ink
Pulling the prints
A finished t-shirt