Screen Printing

R. B. Kitaj. Hellebore for Georg Traki from the Mahler Becomes Politics Beisbol series.1965. Screen print on paper

R. B. Kitaj. 'Hellebore for Georg Traki', from the 'Mahler Becomes Politics, Beisbol' series.1965. Screen print on paper.

Course Outline

Around 30 000 B.C, the very first stencil prints were being made in the recesses of caves, where men and women would place their hands on the cave walls and blow onto them mixtures of ash and clay, leaving behind colourful negative impressions. Between 500 and 1000 A.D. in China and Japan, the stencilling process developed rapidly, later reaching Europe and parts of Africa. It was only until the beginning of the 20th century in America that screen printing evolved into the industry as it is known today. The diversity of the medium’s commercial applications are matched by those in the arts. From stencilling to photographic processes, oil to water-based printing inks, paper to fabric surfaces, and even three-dimensional objects, screen printing allows for an incredible range of possibilities and innovations that is still expanding.

Participants attending the screen printing workshop will learn how to handprint their very own editions of screen printed works on paper, comprising three or more colours, using a combination of stencil and photo-chemical printing techniques.


List of Materials

Participants are required to provide the following materials:

  • An apron
  • 2 – 3 rolls of masking tape
  • 2 large sheets (56 x 76 cm or 70 x 100 cm) of hot or cold-pressed paper (e.g. Lanaquarelle, Arches or Fabriano paper) and / or a large sheet of fabric.
  • Note: Participants may want to observe the printing process before purchasing their paper, fabric and paint. 
  •  Paper is available at Unistat in the Neelsie Student Centre, Stellenbosch, or Deckle Edge in Cape Town. 
  •  Please note that most fabrics can be used for screen printing, but ones made from natural fibres are the ideal option.
  • 1 large sheet (A2 or A3) of black paper / cardboard
  • 3 or 4 tubes of acrylic paint
  • General stationery (pencils, rulers, erasers, scissors etc.)
  • A notebook
  • Any other materials will be discussed during the course of the workshop or will be supplied by the studio.


About the Facilitator

Jessica Staple was born in 1991 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University where she also works part-time as the printmaking technician and co-directs workshops with the Black ink. print collective. In 2013 she completed her BA (Fine Arts) degree as a cum laude honours graduate, with an additional major in English Studies. Jessica works mostly in drawing and printmaking (lithography, screen printing and various intaglio processes). She has participated in and co-ordinated a number of workshops in printmaking, print portfolios and group exhibitions, most recently selected to participate in the First International Print Biennale in Yerevan, Armenia.



Japanese stencil print (19th century). 

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