The Pigeon Takes Flight: Screen Printing Adventures In Oakland

December 4, 2020 work

As pigeons, we are curious creatures.

And when we aren’t nibbling at the delicious crust that forms in the corners of sewage grates, we love to explore new things. When I was asked to learn more about screen printing to help expand the capabilities and offerings of the nest, I jumped at the chance. It didn’t hurt that the class happened to be in Oakland, just a hop, skip and the dodge of a shank away from the city I gave 6 years of my life, learning how to color shit effectively.

I have always had an interest in screen printing and thanks to the fabulous gifting of my husband, I started screen printing soccer-mom style in my kitchen but have wanted to start printing in a way I wasn’t ashamed to tell my friends and co-workers about. Enter Ryonet, creator and distributor of screen printing badassery. After pimping out our office with new toys, it was time to learn how to use it … without crushing our wings.

After a quick flight from Seattle, I quickly headed to the temporary nest A.K.A the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. We might be pigeons, but we are classy as hell.

The next morning I hopped in an Uber and headed over the Bay Bridge to meet up with the guys of Forward Printing bright and early. Upon getting dumped in front of an unmarked door in the middle of Oakland, I clutched my bag of blank t-shirts and entered what I hoped was the right unmarked warehouse. Yay for adventures, right?

Luckily I had landed the right location, as evident by the massive equipment and sweet mustached bunny sketches.

After meeting Dan and Kevin, my mentors for the day, we jumped right in. I had come prepared with custom artwork from the coop and we got to work setting up the designs. We covered everything from file prep, to screen coating, registration, burning screens, power washing, not sniffing the chemicals (while others are watching) and how to mix inks like a mad scientist.

After all the prep work was done, it was time to get printing. Luckily I happened to be the only person that desired the secrets of screen printing in the middle of October, so I got full one-on-one time with the guys and a ton more hands on training than the normal class. Score. Overall we ended up printing around 20 shirts of every fabric mix you can imagine, using discharged water based inks, adhesives, foils and dyed discharge inks.

After a full day of printing, my feet were hurting but I had a Tecate in hand and a new stack of skills to start producing bad ass pigeon goods and custom projects for our clients. Stay tuned to see what kind of sweet merch we plan to churn out in the coming months.

To learn more about our gear and mentors, head over to and Forward Printing to learn more.

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