Monday 3 February 2014

Silk-Screen Printing

Screen printing has been around for quite a few centuries and even to this day is a widely used practice. Almost anything that can be flattened, can be screen printed. Be it paper, cloth, canvas, wood, metal....

This process is more or less on the lines of developing photographs from a negative. The film is transferred on to a silk cloth, and this cloth becomes the screen (negative) over which colors are spread and printed on to the chosen material.
Hence the term, Silk Screened!

Simple enough, yes!?

Well, it definitely sounds so, BUT imagine when there are multiple prints, here
-every sheet of paper/t-shirts needs to be cut or folded to the same size
-placed correctly under the screen
-every batch of the color mixed (there is ink, solvent) and tested to achieve if not exactly the same, but closest to the desired color.
-the pressure with which the color is spread should be consistent or else color density on the print wouldn't remain the same. If its a big print, like in case of our t-shirts, more than one set of hands maybe required.

All these for a single screen, which prints one color at a time. And now repeat all the above for the second color given to the artwork, and so on.. And with each added screen, alignment or 'registration' as its called in print terminology, gets trickier.

The beauty of this whole process lies in its simplicity. It is easy enough to be set-up within a small space and yet is labour intensive, maybe that's why screen printing makes for a perfect small scale industry. Photos are taken in Johnson's living room at home which doubles up as a silk screen room.

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