Guild demonstrates screen printing

The origins of printmaking can be traced back to China more than 1,900 years ago. It flourished in Europe in the 15th century, and although it is perhaps not as widely appreciated as other artistic media like painting or sculpting, the artform remains alive and well in Greenville.

For the second-straight year, Art Avenue will host a “Prints Charming” event featuring a live demonstration of screen-printing from handmade designs produced by the East Carolina University Printmaking Guild today.

Visitors are encouraged to bring T-shirts or may purchase one to have a design printed on it. The event will serve as a fundraiser for the guild’s upcoming trip to the Southern Graphics International Conference in San Francisco and also as a membership drive for Art Avenue.

The event also will feature a raffle featuring prizes, original pieces from Art Avenue artists, ECU apparel and gift cards to downtown restaurants.

Although last year Art Avenue wasn’t considering any future possibilities for the event, “Prints Charming” was so popular the first time around, doing it again was almost a given.

“We had a line out the door,” Art Avenue director Claire Edwards said. “We really didn’t expect it. It’s just a really awesome event. We were caught off guard last year, so we said ‘we’re definitely going to make this an annual thing.’

“I think just seeing the art in action is what people want. Also, screen-printing is a sort of urban art, like spray-painting. People love seeing people spray-paint and do fast graffiti.”

The screen-printing process involves using woven mesh to support a stencil that transfers ink onto something, whether it be a T-shirt, poster, wood, vinyl or other material.

The designs offered on the T-shirts this year will be black and white, but colored prints made by the guild will be available for purchase.

Aside from the screen-printing demonstration, the guild’s work using different techniques and materials will be displayed on the walls of the gallery. The processes covered by the guild include intaglio, lithography, relief, silkscreen, photo mechanical techniques and book arts media.

“The guild members get really excited about it,” Edwards said. “Printmaking is such an old process and it’s very handmade and this is one way they can show the world what they do.”