Thursday, November 1, 2012

Screenprinting On Glass With Glass

Earlier this fall, Bullseye Glass contacted SF State with an offer for Stacy Lynn Smith (examples of her work above) to come visit and demonstrate her technique of glass powder screen printing. The offer was too good to resist and I eagerly took them up on it.

Stacy has a background in printmaking and book art, and discovered along the peripatetic artist's path we all take how to incorporate those techniques with kiln-fired glass. Using an exposed screen with a mesh no tighter than 170, she pours out a small amount of glass powder above her image, much as a screen printer would lay out ink. This powder is than squeezed through the mesh, not with a printer's squeegee, but with a simple piece of cardboard. However, instead of one downward pass, she makes about ten rhythmic passes up and down over her image.

The glass is printed while resting on cups so as to enable easy lifting and moving - the glass goes into a kiln to fuse the powder into glass. If the glass was printed on the table surface, she would have to tilt it to lift it, and would lose her image. The screen is printed off-contact as well. Here, the first layer:

According to Stacy, two to three layers can be printed before she recommends firing the glass. However, more layers can be printed over those that a fired, and fired again. Here, two layers of powder printing:

The process also involves understanding temperature in regards to kiln firing and glass chemistry. As I understand it, lower temperatures produce glass that is rougher in texture and more opaque. Higher temperatures make glass smoother, glossier, and more transparent.

Some of Stacy's color samples:

More samples of Stacy's experiments:

Stacy also teaches a number of workshops at various Bullseye locations where an interested person can learn her technique and screen print their own images onto glass. I'd highly recommend her, and her technique sets the mind a whirl with possibilities!

1 comment:

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