Feature: Super screen printing at the Harley Foundation

Screen printing workshop at The Harley Foundation, Guardian reporter Hayley Gallimore learns about screen printing with tutor Georgina Bell (w131005-6c)
Screen printing workshop at The Harley Foundation, Guardian reporter Hayley Gallimore learns about screen printing with tutor Georgina Bell (w131005-6c)

My Saturdays are usually spent cleaning, washing and slogging around the supermarket . But last Saturday was different.

I decided to devote some time to myself by trying out a creative new craft at the Harley Foundation on the Welbeck Estate, near Worksop.

The last time I did screen printing was at school. I remember it only as a messy lesson in how not to make art.

But the concept of creating your own designs and being able to print them onto virtually anything has always interested me. So I decided to try again.

I enrolled onto a ‘Super Screen printing’ workshop run by artist and tutor Georgina Bell.

Georgina runs {http://www.ateliercrafts.co.uklAtelier Crafts} from her Welbeck studio which is filled with her quirky, colourful textile art.

She is one of around 30 artists and makers working behind the old walls of Welbeck Abbey, in the space that used to hold the walled garden kitchen.

The Harley Foundation subsidises these tranquil, private studio spaces and they are open to the public during open studio days and for workshops.

The workshop started at 10am with tea, pastries and a welcome introduction.

I was there along with three other women who all looked as nervous as me.

We had each brought our own design ideas, and I noted they were all inspired by nature - birds, trees, flowers and leaves.

The first step was to trace our designs onto clear acetate sheets, and cut them out with a craft knife to create a stencil.

It involved a lot of concentration to work out which bits would print once they were placed on the fabric or paper, but I could see my design coming together.

Then it was time for the fun bit - mixing paints, dolloping them on the screen and spreading them out with a ‘squeegee’.

Even under the calm and confident instruction of Georgina I was worried about making a mistake.

But as she reassured me, imperfections can add character to a piece of art and make it even more personal.

My heart was racing as I carefully lifted the screen away from my fabric to reveal a very neat, very pretty petal and leaf motif.

That was it. I had found my wings and was away.

Each layer of paint had to dry before another was added on top. But a hair dryer speeded up the process.

I chose to work in autumnal colours, orange, yellow, green and brown to create a series of leaf chain patterns.

Then over the top I used a very fine stencil to print a speckled rain effect over the top in blue and white. And ‘ta-daaaa’, my screen print was complete.

I went home very happy, having spent my Saturday meeting new people, learning a new craft and (dare I say it) relaxing.

There are so many different workshops run by artists at the Harley Foundation studios, from felting and jewellery making to bookbinding and Christmas gift making.

I would encourage anyone to try at least one - unleash your inner artist. Book online at www.harleygallery.co.uk

• The studios will be open to the public during the Christmas Art and Food Market on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November 2013.

By Hayley Gallimore