On July 15, a day after Bastille Day, the Soft Spot at 128 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is hosting its tenth anniversary party. I went three years ago to their seventh anniversary, where they played up the 7 theme by turning the joint into a fake casino.
For this year’s festivities, I was commissioned to print five dozen t-shirts based on this design.
Printing these particular shirts involved every aspect of what I have come to appreciate as an easy job.
- The shirts were mostly-cotton, heather grey shirts from American Apparel. It is much easier to print on light-colored shirts compared to dark ones because I can avoid…
- using water-based opaque ink that dries in the screen and can extend production time
- using discharge ink, which smells like rotting fish and is probably a little toxic
It is also easier to print on all-cotton or 90% cotton because they ink adheres better to the fabric.
- The design involved only one color. It saved me from having to burn two screens, and I didn’t have to resort to any two-color trickery with my one-color printing station.
- It was easy to custom mix the ink. My ink supplier doesn’t make burgundy so I resorted to mixing a little bit of brown ink into vicon red which more or less made burgundy ink.
I printed the entire run inside my studio space. Because of the noxious fumes involved with discharge printing, I often have to print on the front porch. As nice as that might sound, it presents some logistical challenges: it requires sunlight, which is hard to exploit with my work schedule, and it leaves me exposed to blood-thirsty mosquitoes. Here, I could print indoors with artificial light and some light air conditioning.
Once I had the ink mixed, I was able to load each shirt on to my printing station and churn out one shirt after another.
As is common in the summer, the shirts air dry very quickly. By morning, they were completely dry, ready for heat treating, packaging, and delivery.
Speaking of delivery, aside from sourcing the t-shirts from American Apparel in Los Angeles, everything used to make these shirts was sourced within Brooklyn and Manhattan. It seems fitting that I will be taking these shirts to the bar on foot.
Soft Spot 10th Anniversary
- July 15, 2015
- 128 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn