To create a stellar print, you need a solid screen. Using high quality emulsion and dialing in exposure times help, but it's a fraction of what's needed. Your darkroom matters. Jonathan Overmyer from Golden Press Studio shares tips on how to create an ideal darkroom. He also shares a personal story of an area where he struggles in his shop — keeping dust, lint, and fibers off his screens while they're drying. Luckily, Jonathan has found a piece of equipment that has tremendously reduced the amount of particles on screens that also speeds up production.
SETTING UP YOUR DARKROOM
When you're creating a space for your darkroom, you want to make sure you have at least three things in order.
- The darkroom is clean.
- The space is light-safe.
- The temperature in the room is in the low 70s and the humidity is in between 30%-40%.
Keeping a darkroom clean is not an easy task. Especially for printers like Jonathan who are or started in a garage where many factors come into play. Driving a car in and out of the garage, using it as a multipurpose space, or having to bring in a heater during the winter all causes dust and dirt to fly around. It's difficult to control.
Jonathan is now in a commercial space but still has trouble keeping dust and fibers off his screens. His shop's darkroom is located in the same room as the furnace. No matter what Jonathan does, particles still find their way onto screens.
Jonathan got a Screen Room Drying Cabinet, and it has changed his life. Now, he can degrease and rinse out a screen, stick it in the drying cabinet, and it's dry in 10 minutes. Once it's dry, he can coat the screens and place them back in the cabinet, wait 20 minutes, and the screens are ready to be burned.
The best part of it all — there are next to no pinholes, dust, fibers, or particles on the screens. Yes, a hair or two might get in there when transferring screens to and from the cabinet, but it's a huge improvement from his previous setup.
PRO TIP: If you have the Screen Room Drying Cabinet, place old mesh over the fans to add that extra insurance of stopping particles from flying onto the screens.
No longer does he have to wait days to finally use a screen. He can clean screens, dry them, coat them, and dry them again within an hour. Not only the process more streamlined, Jonathan also does not have to worry about tons of pinholes showing up. The screen is the foundation to a great print. Equipment like a drying cabinet is an investment, but it's a worthy investment.