As Quentin explains... a silkscreen press can print onto a myriad of different substrates, paper, canvas, metal, wood, glass just about any flat surface. The inks can be transparent and glossy like that of a glaze, opaque and thickly applied, like the impasto effect from a palette knife or anything in between, it just depends on the type of ink used. It's this versatility, coupled with the fact that a silkscreen press is cheap and easy to set up, that makes silkscreen an ideal medium for the artist.
There are two fundamental approaches to producing a print, either to create an original in another medium and interpret it using the original as a master or to dive straight in and create a print with just a goal in mind letting the emerging print dictate. The choice of production will depend on the artist and experience of the printer. The problem with printmaking is that each colour has to be printed and dried before proceeding to the next. It can be difficult to judge if a colour is correct early on, especially when there may be 20 - 30 colours yet to print.
A fine art print is not a reproduction but an interpretation of the artist's work, and although photography may be used in creating separations, slavish copying of a photograph rarely produces a successful print. It must be remembered that printmaking is a creative medium in it's own right.
Before printing can be started, separations must be made for each colour. This involves planning the number of colours to be printed and in which order, to enable successful registration. If transparent colours are used overprinting one colour over another produces a third colour, therefore by just using 3 colours, 7 colours can be achieved, by judicious use of overprinting great savings of time and money can be saved. By digitising the artwork onto a computer and using a package like Adobe PhotoShop, the separations ca be automatically generated and output directly onto film using the OYO Thermal Imagesetter... in this case a 42" OYO GS model.
In order to achieve the very high quality required for fina art production the output is not 'screened' in the traditional sense using a screen dot and angle... instead a stochastic or frequency modulated dot is created to produce a much finer printed dot that is essentially invisible to the naked eye.
'TRANSITION' A limited edition print by Harwood King. A Silkscreen print based on drawings made around the weirs at Barcombe Mills. (IMAGE SIZE 43 X 50cms). Edition length 100.
Top Picture: 'OVERHEAD' ( IMAGE SIZE 70 X 50cms). Edition length 350.