Deborah Wurrkidj screen printing her sister’s Birlmu (Barramundi) design. Photo: Ingrid Johanson

Our printing studio in Maningrida is a hive of activity, with the two techniques of textile printing used being screen-printing and linocut printing.

Screen-printing uses large silkscreens, often multiple screens per design. We print using fabric ink and a squeegee along our nine-metre table. We need at least two women in order to make each print run and, with multiple screens, one table-length of fabric can often take a whole day. Our screen print designs have been developed of many years, during workshops in Maningrida and Darwin.

Linocut printing uses hand-carved tiles of linoleum, which we chisel here outdoors. They are then covered in fabric ink and pressed by hand onto base fabric. We often use three or four layers of colour in our designs.

After the printing is finished and the fabrics are touch-dry, we bake them in an industrial oven for almost two hours. This ensures the ink is set and our fabrics can be washed in a cold machine cycle. Silk and delicate fabrics however,  should be hand rinsed in cold water only.