Silk Screening live at the Topanga Film Festival 2014

Print like the wind, Sparky!

Print like the wind, Sparky!

At Sparky Firepants we do some extremely odd and cool things. Like that time I went all the way to Dubai to help a client with their presentation. Or when Jenni saved that coyote’s life with her super sport driving skills.

Speaking of coyotes, this past week was a whirlwind whirlygig of independent films. We sponsored the Topanga Film Festival, celebrating its tenth year. Last year we pitched in at the last minute to screen print t-shirts one night. It was such a fantastic experience that there was no way we were going to miss out on this year.

We screen printed t-shirts on the spot for guests during all four days of the festival. What a ride! We made a lot of new friends and got to be our screwy, weird, happy selves. Not to mention doing it in gorgeous Topanga Canyon, our adopted and future home.

One of the things I love about printing live is how loose and unpredictable it can be. It’s so different from our day-to-day printing. In the shop, on a custom order, we control everything closely so the prints come out perfectly throughout the run. When we print live, we have to let go of much of that control. It’s initially hard to do (control freak here), but it’s a nice change of pace. The control freak in me has to chill out and deal with uncontrollable things. There’s weather – it actually rained one day, what are the odds in a drought? There are lines of customers waiting for their print (in the shop no one is around but us). Then there are the different garments and materials.

One of the cool things about the festival is that people bring their own clothing for us to print on, or they can choose from a rack of vintage clothing or a new stock tee. So when someone brings up an old and worn hoodie with lots of pockets and zippers, we have to get creative really fast. It’s a lot of crazy fun. People tend to be up for anything, so we create some really funky new pieces all day.

It’s staggering to think about everything that goes into putting together a festival like this. The TFF team worked their butts off for months to make it all happen. They drew in thousands of viewers and celebrities, like Wendie Malick and Alexander Payne. They juggled locations, volunteers, events, films, sound and lighting. They also worked with vendors and sponsors like us to make sure everyone was happy. Our hat is off to them. You’re amazing people!

Oh, hey. Check out some wicked cool photos from the event:

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