(The top floor of the atelier, where designers come to print and showcase their lovely works of art)
La Serra MK Textile Atelier is where Mimi Furaha and other artists come to transform plain boring surfaces into intricate works of craftsmanship. This greenhouse was transformed into a studio just six years ago in hopes of creating a fun, creative space for all kinds of artists including jewelers, writers, painters, and fashion designers. Events taking place in this workshop allow designers to showcase their work, as well as collaborate amongst one another.
When visiting the screen-printing facility among the LdM Fashion students on November 21st, I had no clue what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find the studio filled with furniture and a variety of home décor printed with fun patterns and bright colors. All of the home décor pieces were homemade by either digital or silk screening processes. When printing directly onto fabrics, only natural fibers can be used.
Some of the beautiful handcrafted home décor pieces displayed in the atelier. Each is unique from the next and not duplicated
The printing process involves stencils and blocks made by the artists. The homemade stencils are made by placing a sketched design on nylon mesh. They put chemicals on top the mesh and the design and place it under the light. Over time, the area around the stencil becomes a thick plastic because of a chemical reaction. The area behind the actual pattern itself doesn’t react, so it disintegrates and becomes a stencil that color can pass through.
Mimi is coaching a student on how to use the squeegee and press the printpaste over the stencil
They use printpaste to add colored “glue” directly onto the various textiles made of natural fibers. When creating a print on a fabric, artists place the stencil on a textile and make a thick line of printpaste on the edge of the stencil (the thick plastic part not containing the actual design). They use a squeegee to press the colored paste over the pattern in a thin even coat. Each student was able to pick out whichever stencil and color to use, and Mimi Furaha taught each of us students the correct way to screen print.
Visiting the silk screening atelier was definitely one of my highlights of Florence. It was so nice of Mimi to prepare stencils and fabrics for each student to make their own little personal creation and show us how the printing process worked. Seeing the work Mimi and other artists have done on home décor and displayed all around the studio was truly spectacular.
My own screen-printed masterpiece!
Brittany Nyberg attends the University of Illinois back in the US and is majoring in communications and public relations. Studying at LdM has opened so many doors for her in amidst of exploring the world and forming relationships that will last a lifetime. She loves to run, eat lasagna, and thrives when surrounded by good friends and family. Following graduation, she hopes to land her dream job of working as a marketing/public relations specialist. Her main goal: working with people and spreading positive energy.