THE SCREEN PRINTER

Irish Independent - Weekend Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

“It’s re­ally low-fi, and yet it’s in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion,” laughs Kim Wil­loughby, co-founder of Dublin screen print­ing stu­dio Damn Fine Print, as she ex­plains the al­lure of their su­per-pop­u­lar work­shops, which sell out fast.

Part of their ap­peal is in the re­laxed, messy na­ture of the screen print­ing process. “With screen print­ing, it’s all very easy and ac­ces­si­ble and you don’t need a whole lot of tech­ni­cal abil­ity to do it, com­pared to some­thing like etch­ing or let­ter­press,” ex­plains Kim. “You don’t need to be able to draw, and you can’t re­ally mess it up — be­cause if you mess it up, you’re only ex­per­i­ment­ing more, and it’s more fun.”

Classes and work­shops have been an in­te­gral part of Damn Fine Print since it opened in 2011. Held in their large, colour­ful stu­dio in Smith­field, Dublin, the one-day ‘taster’ work­shops, €85, are pop­u­lar with small groups of friends, as team-build­ing ex­er­cises or even al­ter­na­tive hen par­ties. Stu­dents leave with a printed tote bag and T-shirt. “It’s hands-on, it’s re­ally messy and you come away with some­thing that you’ve made your­self,” says Kim.

The work­shops have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar with creative agen­cies and tech com­pa­nies look­ing for a mini dig­i­tal detox. “We pretty much have had them all in the stu­dio — from Face­book and Google to Twit­ter and In­sta­gram,” she says. “To come in and do some­thing that’s very hands-on and low-fi is great, par­tic­u­larly for those types of com­pa­nies, as they’re so tech- and screen-based.”

The stu­dio’s more in­ten­sive four-week cour­ses, €220, are also geared to­wards peo­ple with lit­tle to no print­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “Over the four weeks, we take you from scratch, from learn­ing about how to get an im­age on a screen, how to print that im­age, how to use all our equip­ment, how to wash out your screen and even work­ing with dif­fer­ent inks and mix­ing colours,” ex­plains Kim. If you like what you’ve learned and want to keep ex­per­i­ment­ing, you can sign up for af­ford­able, pay-as-you-go ac­cess, and make use of Damn Fine Print’s in­dus­trial-grade screen print­ing equip­ment, tools and workspace.

For Kim, no two days at the stu­dio are the same. From or­gan­is­ing events and cour­ses to part­ner­ing with brands, work­ing with artists on com­mis­sions, to the gen­eral ad­min of run­ning a busy stu­dio and on­line store — and, of course, pro­duc­ing beau­ti­ful screen prints. Print, at least here, is as pop­u­lar as ever. “We’re at a gen­er­a­tion now where some peo­ple have never worked in print: it’s all dig­i­tal,” Kim notes. “So there’s def­i­nitely more of an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for a hand-pulled print prod­uct.” damn­fineprint.com

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