Page 5 - April 2015
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English was bemused to be offered a back-        not being used in the printing was masked
number of Small Printer but was content to       out using a scrap plastic bag and selotape.
let us watch him work. (Figure 1). The press     The screen was inked up with black ink and
was a RomCo single-colour litho made in          several test prints tried out. Then the intended
India, set up with black ink and being used      target—some vivid orange “Sweet Baby Zone”
to print the pages of a Hindu religious book.    plastic carrier bags—were tried out. A few

  3                                                           adjustments and production started.
                                                              The printman had a female assistant
                                                              who laid the printed bags on a table
                                                              to give them a few minutes to dry in
                                                              the warm sun. I was quite impressed
                                                              with this print job but I mentally
                                                              queried why they had chosen such
                                                              fluorescently coloured bags for a
                                                              baby shop. Pale blue printing on
                                                              pink bags would have been more
                                                              appropriate, but perhaps the
                                                              printshop had a job-lot of orange
                                                              bags they were trying to shift at a
                                                              knock-down price! Who knows?

(Figure 2). The paper stock was         4
very thin and of poor quality, in fact
barely opaque enough to duplex
print. I wasn’t overly struck by the
care being taken; as I watched the
machine pulsing away, I noticed
that some of the pages weren’t
feeding straight. Other pages also
had flecks of black ink on them.
This was not printing of the quality I
would be content to do.

The print shop boss appeared and                 My final print experience was found in
beckoned us to follow him through                another part of Kathmandu, near a street
the building out to the rear of the              teeming with motor cycles in various states
premises. In a makeshift garage was a working    of disrepair. The motor cycle is the most
screen-print facility and this was more          popular form of transport in Nepal and there
interesting. Luck was on our side, since a job   were dozens, perhaps even 50 workshops in
was just about to be started. What appeared      this crowded backstreet alone. One wonders
to be a screen master was drying in the sun      whether any of the bikes would ever pass the
and a young lad was cleaning up a frame prior
to setting up the job. (Figure 3). Recycling is
popular in Nepal and the part of the frame

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