T-shirt Stories



DIY Screen Printing Squeegee Holder Tutorial by PrintingPlans.com – YouTube

I like this, and check their site too, useful stuff for the DIY screen-print warriors out there.

Praise for the Handmade Object

Praise for the handmade object.

The handmade object into which its maker has imbued life.

To hold this object is to be in relationship with a living entity,

its elements activated by the craftsman’s care.

Such an object is a companion.

When a tool,

it is a collaborator

in the interaction between head, heart, hand,

and the material being acted upon to form a new object.

Let us not forget the sublimity of our relations with handmade objects.

The Red Zebra: Delicious Wood-Fired Pizza

  CommonSEED-press had the pleasure of designing and printing this t-shirt for The Red Zebra, makers of delicious wood-fired pizza. You can catch them at Baltimore Farmer’s Market under I-83 on Sunday, or the Lauraville Market on Tuesday from 4-8. Before I tried it, I assumed their pizza was going to be delicious, but folks, it far-exceeded my loftly expectations.

We Are Screen Printers, Ode to Screen Printing‬‏

The folks at Ryonet put this together. Very romantic, gives me pride. I’ve always loved the piece of music in this video. For any of you screen-printers out there who don’t already know, Ryonet is an extremely helpful screen supply company with excellent support. Of course, there are smaller companies in our region that are a one day ship, and also very helpful.

Arts & Ideas Elementary t-shirts

  This is a shirt I printed for Arts & Ideas Elementary. A&I emphasizes experiential education, believing that children naturally gravitate to toward there own aptitudes when given the chance to explore freely.

“We challenge the notion that free choice will lead to a lack of discipline and commitment. Rather, we have observed that discipline and commitment, awakened from within, is a natural outcome of self determination and respect.” (from their website)

This was designed by a commitee of students, faculty, and with some pointers yours truly. A truly organic process that embodies the spirit of Sudbrook education. This is a 2-color pigmented discharge print.

New Woodberry Kitchen Tees

  These shirts were printed earlier this spring. This is another collaboration with Annie Howe. She made the paper-cut and I turned it into a screen-printed t-shirt. Nothing can top the simple elegance of Annie Howe’s paper-cuts.

The artwork was originally commissioned by the staff the Woodberry Kitchen, for the owners, Spike and Amy. When Spike saw the shirts CommonSEED printed for Hamilton Crop Circle using Annie’s cuts, he wanted to do it, too!

This is a 1-color discharge print.

Yoga Sutra Wall-hanging.

This project was a year and a half in the making. These are all of Patangali’s Yoga Sutras in Sanskrit. This project was initiated by Anjali of the Baltimore Yoga Village, as a decorative wall-hanging that would also be a reminder of essence of the practice of Hatha Yoga (the physical aspect of eight-limbed yoga) and its long and noble lineage. You can see two of them displayed at both Yoga Village locations, and there is a third one is for sale, please contact us if you are interested.

The term yoga refers to a “yoke,” or that which binds two into one. The word yoga has no independent relation to the physical excercise of stretching, although it has become an easy way to refer to the physical practice. To put it another way, yoga has not taken place without the union which makes the multitude into one. This does not need to be an act of

will, just a plain awareness how it already is.

The word sutra is related to our word suture or the stitch of a thread. The Yoga Sutras are a series of aphorisms or one to two-liners  of simple wisdom for living, similar to a Haiku. They are often presented to the english reader translated with a commentary by person of wisdom who has directly perceived the wisdom the sutras convey.

When reading Satchidananda’s translation and commentary, I was struck by how few of the Yoga Sutras have to do with the physical practice. There are only several in which stead-fastness of posture is discussed. This limb of Patangali’s eight-limb yoga, has since been expanded into all of our favorite yoga postures. The whole of Hatha Yoga is in preparing the body to sit in one place with the spine erect for long periods of time. Hatha Yoga was designed as way for people to remain connected with the Royal Yoga lineage through the Kali Yuga (dark ages), a time when Hindus believe we are furthest from the Grand Center of the Universe.

The side-effects are feeling connected to and comfortable in your body, strength, flexibility, stability, stress reduction, and regularizing body rhythms like sleep and digestion.

I would like express my highest gratitude to Anjali and the Baltimore Yoga Village in conceiving this project and having the patience to bear with me while I did something I have never done before. I would also like to thank her for the work she has done in bringing many pure strains of Hatha Yoga to the Baltimore area and keeping the spiritual lineage in the fore-front all the while. Keep up the good work.

For Screen-Printers: This was a bear of project, mostly because my shop is not geared toward large-format printing. This print is roughly 3×8′. I used water-based ink on linen canvas. I used locally harvested bamboo for the posts, and my girl-friend helped me with the sewing (ie she sewed them).

First I had to tile together the transparencies for screen-making. The whole print required 8 23×31″ screens. I had to find a suitable way to register these screens to each other, so I put little “x” marks that over-lapped on each screen, put masking tape underneath the “x’s” so as not to print them on the canvas. This method made for slight off-regristration but nothing noticeable in the final product. I printed only three of these, the way I did that was to line each one up with the screen and stack the next one on top. Yardage screen-printers might cringe at this process, but it got the job done…eventually. I don’t think would take on a project quite like this until my shop grows a little more, but it was a great experience to trouble-shoot my way through this.  -Happy Printing -Mike


A major piece of the puzzle in sustainability, which is often overlooked in the “fashionably-green” consumer movement, is sweat-shop labour. One of the most important of our natural resources is human-beings’ own time and energy. The idea that we can live prosperously off the sweat of another human’s brow is a continuation of an imperialist mindset that has parlayed its way into our current global economy.

We get goods that have been manufactured by companies that pay slave wages and hours to work in unsafe factory conditions. These manufacturers become the only means of local employment is some regions and devastate the land and human resources.  This is the reason we can buy stuff cheap. The price we pay represents very few of the human costs incurred in this process.

These costs will come back on us, because during the process of sending our manufacturing oversees, we have given much of our nations wealth over to a smaller percentage of the national and global population. This is the wealth that was, at one time, held by our very own middle-class. The evidence that our country previously experienced a different kind of prosperity is shown in the fact that there was a time that a blue-color manufacturing job could secure a salary and benefits that were on par with someone else who may have received a masters degree in their feild. This is becoming more and more rare.

For the sake of our brothers and sisters in other countries we should buy fair-trade, for our own sake we should bring manufacturing home and buy Made-in-the-USA, and for the sake of the world we should make that manufacturing sustainable, small-scale, local.

It doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way the wind blows, it doesn’t take an ecomonist to see we are in a pickle, and it doesn’t take an expert of any kind to come up with COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS to all the difficulties we face (but they can help too!).