Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 24

SHOP TALK

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
A trip to SoCal proves the importance of
attending screen printing tradeshows.
ANDY MACDOUGALL, ASDPT

S

ince you were last here, my loyal readers, we've been
relieved of a terrible thing and given a gift; we can finally call
the new decade by a decent short form and not sound like a
dork. It feels like we wasted the previous 10 years just trying
to name them. The aughts? The two thousands? The tens?
Pfft ... Forget it.
Welcome to our '20s. Roaring, soaring, boring, the nicknames will come. And as Joe Walsh says, "It's been good to me
so far." Fifteen days in and I dodged a major snowstorm on the
island, then made like a Canada goose and flocked south.
For many, the Impressions (formerly ISS) show is a yearly
event. Not this guy. First time attending, and I quickly figured
out why others rave about it. It was fun. It had an edge. It had
some great, accessible parties, one of which was RuckUs, an
outdoor concert at the performing arts center featuring a
lineup of fantastic live performers, including Sublime. And
from my location in the hall and viewpoint, lots of squeegee
draggers. Turns out screen printing is alive and well and
basking under the warm California sun in Long Beach.
I had never been to ISS, as the main interest areas through
my so-called "career" have always been graphic or industrial in
nature. When I was young, I worked in a T-shirt shop using a
Riley Hopkins 4/c - state of the art at the time. So was the
Nu-arc carbon arc lamp we used for exposures. Wow, how we
have progressed! Life being circular, I've found myself running
a small screen printing social enterprise (wachiaystudio.com)
the last five years where the number-one product is printed
garments. Yes, mom; I'm a textillion now.
The Long Beach event has been running since the '70s and
is considered one of the largest textile decorating tradeshows
in North America. Along with garment manufacturers and
distributors, I saw many exhibiting companies that have given
up on SGIA/Printing United, citing too high of costs for too few
leads. There's no doubt this is also a regional show with a
preponderance of California/Western US-based printers,
designers, and decorators in the crowd. I also noticed there
were more production personnel on the floor.
Running Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and being
geographically located a few hours' drive from 40 million
people, the show allows a bunch of co-workers to pile in a car,
take a road trip together, and attend a show without missing
too much work. It reminded this old squeegee hound of the
good ole days at screen printing shows in Canada, the US,
and Europe. This is so essential in our industry, where the
majority of us work in relative isolation with our overview of
the industry, the machines, and the supplies limited to our own
24

SCREENPRINTING

shops and an occasional ad in a magazine or online. Tradeshows, at least in the screen printing industry, are still critical.
See it, touch it, talk about it, and learn about it. Digital media will
never replace person-to-person contact. You read it here first.
Let's back it up a bit. Brett Bowden contacted me out of
the blue. He runs Printed Threads out of Fort Worth, Texas,
and is an SGIA board member, screen printing musician, and
instigator at ThreadX and the recent WB Camp. Along with Tom
Davenport, Rick Roth, and Pam Ikegami, they collectively run
a little side operation called the Ink Kitchen. Would I like to
disturb my mid-winter hibernation and set up a poster printing
station in the middle of a textile show, they asked? Why not?
The Ink Kitchen crew is made up of textile industry vets
who are building a multimedia and live seminar brand dedicated
to helping printers grow and learn. At the Impressions show,
they had speakers from all facets of the industry in panels or
one-on-one interviews in a relaxed atmosphere where
audience members could ask questions. Called Shop Talk (my
lawyers will be in touch regarding the name), they presented
19 sessions over three days, plus a happy hour. The entire thing
is videotaped and preserved on their website and social media
platforms so it can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, any time.
Nobody is selling anything, advice is freely given, and the fun
meter seems to be cranked up to 11 most of the time.
Their bright idea to set up a poster printing operation
surrounded by the textillions was genius. Curious textile
people asked lots of questions, the main one being how to
register multicolor on paper. Brett mentioned many garment
printers are interested in flatstock printing, but have trouble
making the transition. What ink? What mesh? How do they
dry? What durometer squeegee, what stencil, how do you get
a sharp print? The conversations amplified.
The poster itself drew rave reviews. Designed by Aaron
Draplin, it did double duty as a nice souvenir of the show, and
100 percent of the donations went to the Surfrider Foundation (surfrider.org), an organization dedicated to cleaning up
plastics and other garbage from the oceans.
Pam reports we raised more than $2000 from poster
donations, so that's a good thing. And we had fun doing it.
Head to screenweb.com to see pictures of this new
textillion posted up, printing posters.
Andy MacDougall is a screen printing trainer and consultant based on
Vancouver Island in Canada, and a member of the Academy of Screen
& Digital Printing Technology. If you have production problems you'd
like to see him address in "Shop Talk," email your comments and
questions to andy@squeegeeville.com.


http://www.wachiaystudio.com http://www.surfrider.org http://www.screenweb.com

Screen Printing - February/March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - February/March 2020

Contents
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Cover1
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Cover2
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 1
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Contents
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 3
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 4
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 5
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 6
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 7
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 8
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 9
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 10
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 11
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Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 16
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 17
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 18
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Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 21
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Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 23
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - 24
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Cover3
Screen Printing - February/March 2020 - Cover4
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