Under the spotlight: screen-printing
It’s quiet in the screen-printing workshop. The only sound is the gentle purr of ceiling fans and the gentle patter of voices as Ratiram and Sahadeo screen print the Zebra Diamond pattern from our Jasper pouffe onto metre upon metre of plain white cotton dhurrie.
A printing technique that’s existed since the early 20th century, screen-printing uses a fascinating combination of art and science to achieve its end. Step-by-step the screen-printing team show us how it’s done, transferring the design from computer to a clear film, and then crafting the screen from a fine mesh that they then fix to a wooden frame.
The mesh is coated in a light-sensitive emulsion then placed, along with the printed design, onto a light box. The light parts of the design soak up the light, causing the emulsion to harden. The black parts however are shaded and leave an impression of the design’s pattern on the mesh, remaining soft and soluble, so the ink can be pushed through.
The mesh has become a stencil of sorts, ready to receive the black ink created by the colour master. It’s an ancient technique that dates back to 960AD during the Song Dynasty in China. We feel like we’re watching a piece of history.
Ratiram and Sahadeo work black ink over the mesh, pushing it through the stencil with a large squeegee. The pattern of the Jasper pouffe’s Zebra Diamond print begins to appear on the soft white dhurrie below. We know what the result looks like, but we still can’t take our eyes away as we watch it form.
The carefully crafted screens are hard-working. Once a pattern is achieved, it can be used again. A cold shower first, and then they’re laid out in the sun until every last bead has evaporated and their journey can begin again.
Take a closer look at our Jasper Collection