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‘Imagine Them in Their Underwear’: Charlie Taublieb Recalls His First Industry Speech

Our columnist shares memories of his first speaking experience at Tech Symps 1980.




‘Imagine Them in Their Underwear’: Charlie Taublieb Recalls His First Industry Speech
Writes Charlie Taublieb: “I exclusively used Union Ink exclusively for my shirts and, at dinner with Union’s president Richard Labov, I was asked to design a shirt that he could use as a giveaway to show how well his inks worked. We did a takeoff of a Rolling Stones design and modified it, so it read the ‘Rolling Tones.’ ” PHOTO COURTESY CHARLIE TAUBLIEB

I’VE BEEN SPEAKING at trade shows and conferences for more than 40 years and now feel pretty comfortable doing it. But, like the majority of people with a bit of stage fright, that wasn’t always the case. When I was in college I took a speech class, never intending to use it. I hated getting in front of a group and speaking, but I did learn a few things while in the class. I received an “C” and was thrilled, thinking that I would never have to do that again.

Fast forward to the late 1970s. I went to my first SPA show (now Printing United) in 1977. I took a handful of printed black shirts with me to find out how I could do them better since I had only been printing for less than a year and a half. As it turned out, everyone I met there was asking me how I did them. It seemed that whatever I was doing was better than anyone that was there was printing on darks. I attended the next few shows, bringing along some of my shirts and was active with the textile screen printers’ sessions at the shows explaining how I printed my shirts to the other attendees.

Based on the shirts I had been showing and my willingness to share my procedures, I was asked if I would be interested in speaking at the upcoming 1980 Tech Symps in Pittsburgh. I agreed to speak and invited the top members of my team to come along with me as support. Being a young, but not quite a multimillionaire screen printer, I thought we would drive there to save some money. That was a mistake. Brooklyn to Pittsburgh is a long drive, so I had them fly in.

Meeting the Greats

There was a rumor that several of the screen-printing gurus including Gene Krupinski from Advance Process Supply and others would be at the Tech Symps conference. I knew they were going to dispute the way I was printing based on the information they had been giving printers. Based on that, and not wanting to feel foolish after my presentation, I printed about 300 black Pellons with my five-color King Tut design. As people entered the room, they were given one of the prints.

The person giving the presentation before I was to speak went overtime, which was a relief to me. I offered to cut my presentation to get us back on schedule. Once I started to speak, I remembered a lot of the things I learned in the speech class and put them to use. The only real problem I had was being so nervous that my teeth were banging together so hard that I felt no one could understand what I was saying. I had never addressed a crowd of more than a handful of people and here I was with several hundred people. I somehow got through with my presentation and was totally relived. I asked if anyone had questions. No one raised their hands. I guess those that were there to shoot down my procedures were going to have a difficult time explaining the print that they had in their hands.


Based on that experience, I eventually was asked to speak at several of the industry shows. I was invited to dinner with Richard Labov, the president of Union Ink. I exclusively used his ink for my shirts and, at dinner, I was asked to design a shirt that he could use as a giveaway to show how well his inks worked. We did a takeoff of a Rolling Stones design and modified it, so it read the “Rolling Tones.” The shirt won several printing awards, which made Richard very happy.

‘Imagine Them in Their Underwear’: Charlie Taublieb Recalls His First Industry Speech

At the Tech Symps 1980 conference, Charlie brought 300 black Pellons with his five-color King Tut design. To his surprise, they all wanted to know how he printed them and went on to use his techniques as a teaching tool. PHOTO COURTESY CHARLIE TAUBLIEB

This print was done at the 2004 SGIA Show in Minneapolis from the original films. It’s a five-color version without my company logo which would have been at the bottom. All the inks are the Union Maxopake series, which was used on the give-away print. The difference is the inks in 1980 were lead based and the mesh used was a 93. Mesh is 86 for all the colors, single stroke, no flash (the flash didn’t get invented until around 1981 or so.)

Finally, here’s the color order: Brite Green, Brite Blue, Orange, Yellow, White. These are the same specifications for the Union Ink shirt.

After that, my speaking, educating, consulting, and coaching career took off and has spanned decades thanks to a lucky break in taking my craft to a show where experts would evaluate it and take it on as a teaching tool for decades to come. And I finally got over my fear of speaking of front of people. Dressed or not.



Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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