Exposure issue/loss of detail problem
I'm new here - been meaning to introduce myself but couldn't find a suitable place so I'll cut to the chase and get straight into my current print dilemma.
I'm an illustrator and print-maker based in South London, UK. I used to work out of a shared print studio with a fancy vacuum exposure unit but have long since left to make my own hotch-potch set up.
I recently got a new screen and a new halogen work lamp (x2 500w) for exposing as well as a some new photo emulsion. Up till then I was using four year old emulsion and wondering why it was causing me so much grief to expose with!
So I did my first screen this week. In the past I used to only coat one side of the screen but for a change decided to coat both sides as recommended by some. Any thoughts on this?
I exposed the screen with the lamps 25" above for 25 minutes. In hind sight this may have been too long. Can exposing a screen for too long lead to loss in detail? The picture below shows the problem - the trace with the negative on is crisp and clean (although there is some slight pixelation which annoyed me but that's a different story!) but as you can see the in the print below there has been some loss of detail.
Initially when I washed the screen out I was stoked with what looked like a super clean exposure and in fact I didn't really notice the loss in detail (specifically on the lettering) until I'd done a run of prints. Part of the issue is I've gone with a computer font - usually I do my own lettering but I felt it suited the design. Hand drawn lettering is more forgiving in screen-printing in my experience...
It's not that bad in the scheme of things - the picture above is fairly close up - but I'm a bit anal so it's bugging me and I want to get the next layer crisper and cleaner if possible as that should tighten up the whole thing.
Anyway I'm banging on a bit. If anyone made it this far could you let me know what I'm doing wrong?
Exposure time? (would 15-20 minutes make for a cleaner/tighter exposure?)
The two lamps point in slightly different directions - could this lead to blurring?
Are they too far away? They were also a slight angle to the screen and not 100% over the top - would this be an issue?
Double coating - yay or nay?
Any help would be most welcome!