Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up, and they’ll obviously reply a garment printer or embroiderer. Sure, there are one or two eccentric little Herberts out there who have their mind set on fire fighting and space travel, and I must confess that for a time, I wanted to be a Wizard; limitless power, a large wand and you get to wear a dress, no questions asked. But in the main, the lure of ink and thread is just too great, isn’t it?Well sadly, no. Fact is if your pride and joy expressed an interest in mesh counts, you’d have them straight off to Dr Fruitcake for a thorough inspection.So we have a problem; to begin with, nobody ever dreams of being one of us. And is doesn’t end there. You grow up, and for reasons you don’t understand, chance encounters, lost bets, you end up with a squeegee in one hand and a disk in the other. Now what do you tell people?
I was at a dinner party recently, which seems to be a kind of middle class going round to your mate’s house for tea, and had the good fortune to be sitting next to an Accountant. Standard ice breaker, I enquired about his employment status. Two hours of self promotion followed; his humble beginnings, the hardship, the victory over almost insurmountable adversity, and the inevitable rise to number crunching superstardom. Damn he was impressive, and throughout I nodded, cajoled and looked interested – I’m English and can do no other. It wasn’t easy for him, but eventually he had no choice but to ask me what I did for a living……pause….’I’m a T-shirt Printer’, I said……and he said…..’Hmmm’…..and turned his attention to a profiterole.
For him, our dark art wasn’t even worth a word; all he could manage, was a sound. I considered letting the tyres down on the new Mercedes he’d been explaining to me, but that would be small minded, petty and achieve nothing. As he waited for the RAC, I heard him making other sounds, ran my hand across the water based print I was wearing, and smiled.
There’s a job going at my place at the moment, for a T-shirt printer, and how am I supposed to advertise that? No kids want to be one, and anyone who is one, may not relish the thought of staying one, ‘Don’t leave me here to die with ink on my hands Billy, say you’ll come back for me one day…’
I might as well see if I can find Yoda in the jungles of the Degoba system, unless of course, we look at it a different way.
We are at the very least purveyors of momentary happiness. The Doctors, the Teachers, and maybe even flat tyre boy, save a life, educate a child, and then to ease the strain pull on that favourite T, and just for a second, feel good about themselves. We add the colour, they feel the texture, their friend compliments them on their choice; only grains of sand I know, but that’s enough for me.
At best we’re a mobile gallery, the last place the masses go to buy art; a vehicle for social and political comment; a billboard to shock, inspire and increase awareness; it was only a fraction of a fraction of a small percent, but we ran the world, and freed Nelson Mandela.
Now you might say that’s an overblown delusion of grandeur, you might even say ‘Hmmm’, but if you think I could have a point, and if you can print T-shirts because it matters, give me a call. I might have just the job for you, and maybe, we get to be Wizards after all.
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