When a customer comes to us for a new scarf or tie design, we may be presented with varying degrees of source material to work with. We might start with a photograph of a painting or decorative treasure in a museum collection, or perhaps all we have to work with is a corporate logo. Whatever the starting point, we use a combination of hand skills and computer skills to develop paper artwork for approval by the customer.
Once the artwork is approved, the image must be transferred to screens for printing.
This is done by colour separating or “tracing off” each colour in the design onto a separate sheet of film.
This in part can be done using a computer, however there is still a surprising amount of hand work involved in this process.
Each film or “positive” is then used to make a screen.
The screen is made up of a metal frame and a fine nylon mesh, tightly stretched over it.
The screen is coated with a photo-sensitive emulsion and once dry, contacted with a positive on the exposing table.
This is then blasted with ultra-violet light.
Where the positive is clear, the light passes through the film and hits the emulsion.
The emulsion reacts with the light and becomes insoluble.
The black areas on the positive do not allow the light to pass through and so, in these areas the emulsion remains soluble, washing away to leave open areas of mesh where the dye will eventually pass through on to the silk below.