Her Work Speaks for Itself
Shyanne Hall, a Women in Screen Printing Award winner, hasn’t always been judged on merit alone. Her story illuminates a common challenge.
Lead Ink Mechanic | Wear Your Spirit Warehouse | Huntington, MD
Q: Multiple nomination forms note that as an U.S. Air Force spouse, you’ve had the opportunity to work at four different shops in 14 years. One reads in part, “Shyanne began her career operating a 1-color 1-head manual tabletop press right out of high school and has progressed through managing screen departments all the way up to operating and managing 10-12 automatic presses.” How has this diverse experience impacted your view of the industry and your approach to work?
Shyanne: My career started in a high-volume shop that had been in business for over 35 years. I learned old-school methods, such as exposing 10-foot screens outside in the sun, printing fabric on a table with a C-clamp, and an improvised pulley system. We even used carbon copy work orders.
Other shops presented many more challenges. In one, I saw first-hand the importance of preventative maintenance, organization, and systems. A shop is chaotic without those things, and it directly affects production. I’ve been in multiple shops where I was a “one-woman show.” I would reclaim, coat, and expose screens. I would operate an automatic press solo and simultaneously print on a manual if the automatic was running in multi-pass. I would sort, fold, box, and ship.
Some of my experiences in the screen-printing industry have caused me to become jaded. At one point, I was ready to walk away from it completely. The constant starting over in a new state in a male-dominated industry has many challenges. Some shops would turn me away at the door based on my appearance upon asking for an application. The shops that did give me a chance had a culture where I would constantly have to prove myself to my male co-workers.
Gone are the days of sorting shirts in inches of standing water at the dryer and watching water pour down the interior of the shop door when it rained, [and of] equipment breaking down daily and being held together with years of lint and duct tape. No more dodging automatic screens propped on any surface that would hold them, with ink pouring onto the floor. The smell of mold is no longer attached to my hair and clothing when I leave work. I am no longer working in a constant state of crisis.
Here are a few examples of Shyanne’s work at Wear Your Spirit Wearhouse.
It wasn’t until I crossed paths with Alison Banholzer that I became enthusiastic about printing again. Having the opportunity to work for her company has been a breath of fresh air. Wear Your Spirit Warehouse has checked so many boxes for me. It’s my first opportunity to work for a woman-owned and women-led print shop. For the first time in my career, my work speaks for itself, and I have an employer who invests in me. I work in an organized shop with systems in place, equipment that is cared for, and everything is in working order. Our incredible team works together and helps one another in any way possible. I’m beyond grateful to be a part of Wear Your Spirit Warehouse.
Working at four shops in three states has allowed me to see how different shops operate. My experiences have shaped how I approach my work. I’ve learned that as an employee, I cannot care about someone else’s business more than they do. Some of my experiences broke me, while others molded me into a better press operator. Just because I can do it all doesn’t mean I should. I learned to know when to walk away. I’ve learned the value of proper teamwork and the importance of having an employer that pours into the betterment of their people. This industry consists of an incredible community, and after 14 years, I’m experiencing it for the first time.
Q: One nomination form states: “Shyanne is a member of both the American Screen Printing Association and Phi Beta Kappa. Shyanne has also participated in tradeshows and industry events. Most recently she assisted in classes with Charlie Taublieb at Impressions Long Beach to help educate and advance newer members of the industry. She also participates in Shirt Lab, providing support and resources to the partners. Lastly, Shyanne has assisted many members of the Apparel Decorating Business Sprint organization when they have had production run issues or problems.” Why is industry involvement important?
Shyanne: Industry involvement is incredibly important to me. It is something I wish I had in my past experiences and is something I utilize now. For much of my career, I felt isolated. Any issue I ran into was trial by fire. I recall times when I would be in the thick of troubleshooting and had no one to call for guidance. I don’t even want to think of the hours I wasted trying to figure it out alone. There are so many people in this industry who I can learn from, and calling on them for support means so much. If I can be that person for someone, I’m all in – I’ve been there, I know the frustration. Let’s figure it out together.
Q: What does being a woman in the screen printing industry mean to you?
Shyanne: I was raised by a single mother who worked in a male-dominated industry as a machinist. I grew up believing that I could do anything a man could do. It may require a different approach on my part, and some things may take me longer, but anything is possible. For example, the shop has a step ladder with my name on it! I also grew up understanding the sobering reality that my gender would require me to work twice as hard to prove myself in certain situations, and it has multiple times. Being a woman in screen printing means everything to me. I’ve poured myself into this industry my entire adult life. Witnessing my mom walk a nontraditional path taught me to be strong-willed and to go for what I wanted. I hope to be a role model for my nieces when it comes time to pick a career path for themselves. I want them to know that they can do anything, and that there is no limit to their capabilities.Advertisement
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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