Ever thought about how those intricate patterns and prints are made? Or wondered why screen printing is like, so 'in' right now? Or why it costs more than digital printing? Well, because I'm really cool (?!) these kind of questions do enter my mind pretty often. And, I do love a bit of paint-jobby fun so when new social platform In The Window asked if I wanted to come along and learn how to screen print from the master of Art Deco wallpaper himself Daniel Heath, I kindly obliged. I'd seen Dan's work at both the Dulux installation that I worked on and at Decorex during LDF and was really impressed. 

On the night, after getting lost down a few alleyways (why don't I just follow the email directions I do wonder sometimes?) I arrived at the Blackhorse Lane studios of Daniel Heath. Before we got started, we had a chance to eat some yummy cakes and snacks provided by Propercorn, Dinah’s Desserts, Nix & Kix, and Moreish Cheesecake. Sidenote - the Baileys cheesecake? I mean.... seriously good. 

This is the kind of thing Dan makes. Now you can see why I was excited huh!

daniel heath

Dan talked us through the studio and the great work it does and then showed us upstairs to his workspace. He showed us his various different patterns that he makes into wallpaper. All printed by hand! 

daniel heath

I'll now run you through the various questions that I kept interrupting with.

Q: How do you make the screen?

A: It's drawn out by hand, then projected onto the silk screen using some large funky machinery. The silk screen has a layer of paint on it, some hardens and some is left exposed depending on the dark and light of the image. The exposed bits will then allow paint through, the hardened bits won't.

Or something like that. 

Daniel heath wallpaper
daniel heath

Q: What paint do you use?

A: Standard acrylic paint. You can mix colours to make it custom. 

Q: How long does one roll take to print?

A: About half a day.

daniel heath

Q: How is it printed? 

A: One screen per colour, you have to wait for one layer to dry before you add the next.

After all of the questions, it was time to get stuck in and try our hands at screen printing a roll of his Eastern Peacocks wallpaper. Of course I was then first to volunteer myself to try it, whilst donning this rather fetching apron.

*side note - three of my friends commented on my instagram pictures saying I had a cool outfit on, not knowing it was an apron. I don't get these girls...)

screen printing with dan heath

I listened intently...

daniel heath

... then went for it!

make animated gifs like this at MakeaGif

I can see how it would definitely get a few goes to get used to spreading the paint evenly and knowing how much pressure to put on. We all got to take turns as well as pick the brains of Daniel and his lovely wife Laura about the business and working together. 

Here's where we got to by the end of the session!

Seeing the skill and effort that goes into making rolls of this wallpaper definitely showed me why you pay more for a handmade product. It has a story and a real attention to detail. 

Daniel's illustrations are so unique and I'll really be supporting his work from here on out. Also - we got gifted a gold screen print of his high wire illustration which is amazing, I think it'll be going up in Marley's room when we redecorate. So kind!

daniel heath

I had a fab night, learnt loads about Dan's work, the art of screen printing and I got to understand first hand why In The Window are a social platform worth checking out. They aim to bring these kinds of stories to us on a daily basis so that we can better connect with designers and makers that we love.

If this is anything to go by, I think it's going to be pretty awesome.

S x

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