Not to get all Whitney on you, but “I believe the children are the future.” As babies are born and kids grow up, new generations take their turn at running our planet. Future innovation and invention in every industry belongs to the youth of today. For this reason, it’s the adults of today that are responsible for giving kids as much opportunity to explore, grow, and experience as we possibly can. You may have picked up on some of the excited chatter about our summer t-shirt design and print class. In case you didn’t, here’s the skinny: Marwen, Sharprint, and M&R partnered up to bring screen printing to a group of 13 high school students. Marwen is a center offering free visual art classes and college and career support for students in grades 6-12. M&R is the world’s foremost manufacturer of screen printing equipment for the graphic and textile industries, and we are the screen printers.
I developed a course to teach students how to design and print t-shirts from concept to production. The first 8 days were spent at Marwen learning the basics of industry standard design software, textile specific design considerations, and color separation. Marwen is amazing in it’s mission to provide young people with art education despite race, gender, or economic factors and the facilities are incredible. The classroom was ideal to teach the Adobe programs and design principles. The last two days were at Sharprint where the students experienced the printing process - hands-on. Big thanks to M&R for helping us set up our classroom, complete with press for the students to print their shirts.
I have to say the last two days in the shop were the most fun. All of the theory, talk, and computer work came together. Seeing the screens being made, coating screens, visiting the ink room. The puzzle pieces were put together one by one and there were a lot of ah-hah moments. The kids really loved setting up their press, pulling the squeegees and printing their shirts. The pride and satisfaction was totally visible. A handful of kids even said that they wish they could work at Sharprint!
On a personal level, I wasn’t exposed to screen printing and print making until well after high school and once I was...wow! Screen printing just rocked my world. The process and aesthetic, the science and beauty are all things that engaged me in a way that only screen printing does. Giving young people skills as a tool or outlet may take them down a path they might not have come across. Whether it’s printing for fun, printing for a living, or impacting society like Andy Warhol or Shepard Fairy, the kids in the Marwen class now have screen printing experience. It’s another option for them to be who they want to be