Let’s have a look at how easy it is to use a Moiko SilkScreen with pastels and/or powders. I’ll be using chalk pastels in this process but you can substitute for Pan Pastels, oxide powders or any other powder/pastel with fine particles. There are some important tips right at the end of this post.
It’s important to choose the right type of screen to do this process. Normally Moiko Silkscreens have a very high thread count, meaning the fabric has threads which are very tightly woven and very fine. Hmmm perhaps not easy for powder particles to get through. Well, I’m happy to say, Gosia has introduced a range of screens with a much lower threadcount. This means the fabric has a much “looser” mesh so more particles can get through. There are many more advantages to these screens which I’ll share with you in future blogposts. I’m not saying this process won’t work with other Moiko silk screens – it’s just much easier to get a nice, clear design with the new mesh screens.
Creating Your Veneer
- Condition clay and place on a piece of scrap paper. Burnish your silk screen onto your clay – make sure you can read MOIKO correctly. If it reads backwards, your screen is on the wrong side. Shave (very finely – no large chunks) chalk pastel onto the surface. You can use one colour or many colours.
- Use a firm bristled brush and “pounce” the surface.
- Continue until you have the entire surface covered.
- Lift one end of the screen very carefully until you’ve removed it to the half way mark.
- “Roll” it back down carefully and then brush over the surface again covering the half of screen you lifted. I find by doing this I get a heavier concentration of powder particles pass through the screen. Repeat this for the other side of the screen.
- Blow away any excess powder (probably do this outside or over a rubbish bin – not on your work surface!).
- Remove the screen carefully and keep well away from your work surface. This screen will be full of powder.
- Place some baking paper over your clay carefully and burnish well. This will embed some of the loose chalk/powder particles into the clay. (Check my blog post on “Using Mica Powder with Silkscreens“. I share a trick to get your powders to adhere really well to your clay).
- This is the finished screen.
- For a different look you can swipe your finger over the surface of the clay to “blend” some of those powders. This can create a beautiful effect.
Important Things to Remember
- Never (ever) use a damp silkscreen when working with any sort of powders or pastels. The powders will instantly clog up the screen. Even if you think your screen is dry there could be tiny water droplets in that fine mesh. Leave mesh overnight to dry before using with powder.
- Always use a very dry brush – not just a blotted dry brush (for similar reasons mentioned above.). The powders/chalks will clog up in the brush and you’ll never get it to work.
- Wash your powder-filled screens in warm soapy water and use a soft toothbrush on the right side of the screen to remove stubborn powders (if you can read Moiko it’s the right side).
- If you brush or rub on the “underside” of the screen you risk damaging your image.
- Make sure you handle any silkscreen design created with powder very carefully. I would highly recommend not using these clay sheets for anything which requires heavy manipulation.
- I would also recommend sealing any surface with a powdered silkscreen design in some way if it’s going to endure heavy wear and tear.
This is a really easy way to create a simple design using chalk/pan pastels. There are many other variations and I’ll share a few of them in upcoming blog posts.