Tectonic by Heather Page, silk screen and stencil on paper, 15 inches x 15 inches

Title: Tectonic
Media: Silk screen and stencil on paper
Size: 15″ x 15″
Edition: 1/18-18/18
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Tectonic is an original silk screen print with pochoir on off-white B.F.K. in nine colors made from eight silk screens and one stencil.


We make silk screen prints by pushing ink through a stretched piece of mesh.
Images are made by blocking out parts of the mesh. We call this a stencil. There are all sorts of ways to make stencils. For Tectonic, I used photographic stencils.
To make a photographic stencil:

  1. I coat a screen with a photosensitive emulsion and let it dry in the dark.
  2. I then place a transparency—an opaque image on a transparent background—on the screen and expose the two to light.
  3. Next, I wash out the screen with water. Any part of the screen that was covered by the opaque image washes away, leaving a thin stencil that is the inverse of the image. So, the transparent background in the transparency is now a green coating on the screen and the black image is now open–or uncovered–mesh.
  4. When I squeegee ink through the screen, it can only pass through the washed-out image area, creating a print that looks just like the image.

More on silk screen printing

To make a pochoir print, we use a stencil with the design cut out of it.
The mylar stencil I made for Tectonic had holes wherever you see white in the print. I placed the stencil directly on an already silk-screened print and rolled paint over the surface. The thick paint obliterated the printing beneath and also took on the texture of the paint roller.
More on pochoir
More on multi-color printmaking


I printed Tectonic in an edition of eighteen prints, numbering 1/18-18/18, for a print portfolio by the same name organized by Meredith Setser and Danielle Rante for the 2010 Mid America Print Council’s Annual Conference, “New World/Old World”.
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