About screenprinting...
For many centuries, screenprinting has been used for producing fabric prints. The ancient Japanese were amongst the pioneers for printing kimonos. Production today is heavily industrialised and very widespread, printing T-shirts, curtains etc...

The basics of screenprinting are very simple: ink is forced through a screen which is partially blocked out...the mesh allows the ink through in specific areas, printing one colour at a time. Successive screens are used for different colours, the combinations of which form the finished product.

There are several methods possible for blocking out the screen...the one I prefer uses products painted directly onto the screen...

Step 1
The screen is stretched over a wooden frame. I paint onto the screen the areas I want to be printed (blue).

Step 2
Once dry, a second fluid (brown) is spread over the whole screen.

Step 3
Rinsing with cold water dissolves out the blue product, leaving the screen « open » in these areas.

Step 4
The screen is ready for printing. A sheet of paper is placed on the magic table underneath the screen.

Step 5
Ink is poured onto the screen, then forced through with a squeegee.

Step 6
Thus one colour is printed on the paper. The screen is then washed out and the process repeated for each subsequent colour.

Step 7
The finished work is a combination of the separate colours.

Screenprinting techniques, although they do allow mixing and superposition of colours, are more generally used by artists seeking raw, separate colour effects. Fine artists started to become interested in the possibilities offered by screenprinting during the 1950's. American artists of the « pop art » movement were the pioneers. Looking at the use of colour in Andy Warhol's work, the portraits of Marilyn Monroe for example, the use of the bold, flat colours produced by screenprinting is a famous example.

The advantages of screenprinting means several prints can be made from the same model (fifteen maximum for my work), but it is interesting from an artistic point of view because it is a long, successive process. The work evolves on the printing table as colours are added one after the other, and the finished work is often quite different from the original idea. This successive process means that a screenprint is not a copy, as there is no is a work of art in it's own right, midway between painting and printing.

Today, screenprinting has cast off it's industrial shackles to become a recognised art form, very widespread, and with a strong artistic signature.

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