Silkscreen or Serigraphy "Serigraphy" is a combination word from the Latin word "Seri" (silk) and the Greek word "graphein" (to write or draw).
History - beginnings • Screen-printing first appeared in a recognizable form in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 CE). Japan and other Asian countries adopted this method of printing and advanced the craft using it in conjunction with block printing and paints.
History – western introduction • Screen-printing was introduced to Western Europe from Asia sometime in the late 1700s, but did not gain large acceptance or use in Europe until silk mesh was more available for trade from the east and a profitable outlet for the medium discovered.
History – popularity increases • Screen-printing was first patented in England by Samuel Simon in 1907. It was originally used as a popular method to print expensive wall paper, printed on linen, silk, and other fine fabrics. Western screen printers developed business policies intended to keep secret their workshops' knowledge and techniques.
Originally a profitable industrial technology, screen printing was eventually adopted by artists as an expressive and conveniently repeatable medium for duplication well before the 1900s. It is currently popular both in fine arts and in commercial printing, where it is commonly used to print images on T-shirts, hats, CDs, DVDs, ceramics, glass, polyethylene, polypropylene, paper, metals, and wood.
1960’s to present • Credit is generally given to the artist Andy Warhol for popularizing screen printing identified as serigraphy, in the United States. Warhol is particularly identified with his 1962 depiction of actress Marilyn Monroe screen printed in garish colors.
Graphic screenprinting is widely used today to create many mass or large batch produced graphics, such as posters or display stands. • Also machinery was created to produce large quantities of t-shirts for the fashion industry. Screen printing on garments currently accounts for over half of the screen printing activity in the United States.
Process • A screen is made of a piece of porous, finely woven fabric called mesh stretched over a frame of aluminum or wood. Originally human hair then silk was woven into screen mesh, currently most mesh is made of man made materials such as steel, nylon, and polyester. Areas of the screen are blocked off with a non-permeable material to form a stencil, which is a negative of the image to be printed; that is, the open spaces are where the ink will appear.
The screen is placed atop paper or fabric. Ink is placed on top of the screen, and a fill bar (also known as a floodbar) is used to fill the mesh openings with ink. • The operator then uses a squeegee (rubber blade) to move the mesh down to the substrate and pushes the squeegee to the rear of the screen. The ink that is in the mesh opening is squeezed in a controlled and prescribed amount, i.e. the wet ink deposit is equal to the thickness of the mesh and or stencil. As the squeegee moves toward the rear of the screen the tension of the mesh pulls the mesh up away from the printing material (called snap-off) leaving the ink upon the surface material.