by Jamie Bennett
So the darkroom is up and running. I blacked out the windows in my utility room and began setting screens this last weekend. The room still needs some more blacking out to be totally light proof but I am really happy with how things are going.
I took some old blacked out billboards and started hanging them here and there throughout the room – taping over any holes with black duct tape. I could have easily spent the entire weekend continuing to black out the room but I was ready to set some screens. It had been years since the last time I actually screen printed anything.
I had just gotten some presensitized photo emulsion and I was just too excited to wait any longer. I waited till the sun moved low enough in the sky to begin setting the screens without fear of overexposing them. I had cleaned off some old screens and had them standing at the ready.
I waited roughly four hours for the screens to dry. It is always really important to make sure the screens are totally dry. Better safe than sorry and without the room totally sealed off from light, the whole evening was riding on my perfect timing.
I'ld love to say it all went super smooth that first night but I was a little too impatient and probably should have let the screens dry for another half an hour. It's wasn't totally ruined but I am a perfectionist. I set the screens without any problem on the second night. I printed my first set of shirts by Sunday morning.
The shirts are of Eggie and I also ran out some decals while I was waiting for things to dry and expose. All in all, it was a great learning process and I can't wait to do it again. I need to finish blacking out the room before I print anymore shirts but I love having this dedicated space. There is a fridge, large sink, work surfaces, washer and dryer. What more do you need?
Nia and I also recently purchase a photo enlarger that we found at Goodwill for $50. With any luck my utility room will be an incredible studio space where I can house my more caustic materials. I am waiting on some spray paint as we speak and also imagine to install a kiln in the immediate future.