What is a Silk Screen Print and Giclee Print?

ABOUT GICLEE PRINTS

 

Fine art reproduction has been revolutionized with the Giclee printing process and is now setting the standard the low volume reproduction of artworks. With the advent of Giclee (also known as Iris or pigmented ink prints) the technique of fine art printing has become even more precise. Because no screens are used, the prints have a higher resolution than lithographs. The dynamic color range is greater than serigraphy. In the Giclee process, a fine stream of ink, more than four million droplets per second, is sprayed onto archival art paper. Exact calculations of hue, value, and density direct the ink flow. This produces a combination of 512 chromatic changes (with over 3 million colors possible) of highly saturated, nontoxic ink. Each image is digitised/scanned and meticulously checked by the artist to faithfully reproduce the original artwork

 

Displaying a full color spectrum, the prints are lush and velvety with the feel and luminosity of a watercolor. Giclee prints capture every nuance of an original painting. Something which the standard four color printing process fails to do. Image permanence is a concern to artists and collectors alike. A Gicle e print is very stable, giving fade & color shift resistance of better than 25 years for average indoor light conditions. When watercolor paper is used, this time span increases to 75 years. The Fine Art Trade Guild (UK) has tested these prints using the preferred Blue Wool Method. With a top score of 8, the prints scored of 6-7, which is very high to excellent. Results recently published by Wilhelm Imaging Research using prints from an IRIS printer have yeilded a predicted display life of 65 to 75 years on Somerset velvet fine art paper. Henry Wilhelm is considered to be the authority with regard to indoor fade testing of fine art and photographic images.

 

Each print is printed on Somerset 330gms fine art archival acid-free watercolor paper. The Epson UltraChrome K3 inks that we use produce prints with an extremely wide colour gamut. This 8-colour ink system incorporates Black, Light Black and Light Light Black inks, which improves mid tones and highlights and significantly reduces colour casts by improving the printers grey balance. Improved pigment and resin chemistry in Epson K3 inks also mean that prints produced in this way are also more scratch resistant than earlier Giclée prints.

Epson UltraChrome K3 ink incorporates High-gloss Microcrystal Encapsulation™ Technology along with unique screening algorithms and Light Light Black ink that significantly reduces gloss differential.

Because the archival stability and image permanence is paramount, the inks, or ‘pigment inks’ we use are archival, and twinned with our choice of tactile fine art papers, provide exceptionally vivid pigment prints with outstanding light fastness and stability.

 paper size is 24 inches (89cm) wide. Each print is signed and numbered. Prints are sent in a roll by priority mail, or FedEx.

 

 

Edition Size, Limited Editions

A printing of a group of prints from a single screen is called an edition. A limited edition is one in which the numbers of the print are decided beforehand, and then the edition size is limited to that number. Then the screen/file is destroyed or changed in some way so that only a limited number of prints are made of that image.

These limited edition prints are each numbered below the image. This takes the form of the number of each image in the order of its making, then separated by a slash, the number of the total edition. In this way, a number of 29/195, means the 29th image completed out of a total of 195 made. Part of the edition is also marked AP - Artist's Proof. Traditionally these were given to the artist as part payment for signing the edition and were 10% of the edition size. Due to their limited number and sometimes personal connection with the artist, AP's are considered more collectable and normally carry a premium over the standard edition. AP numbers are marked using ‘AP’ and sometimes Roman numerals.

 

Certain collectors prefer lower, mid or higher numbers of the series; this is a personal preference. In general the smaller the total edition number, the rarer the prints and the higher the value. Thus a print from an edition of 99 should be more valuable, all other factors being equal, than a print from an edition size of 500.

 

History

Giclee is a relatively recent form of printing. Long before the word Giclee was first used to refer to art prints, there were artists who discovered that ink-jet printers provided options not available from other print making processes.

 

In the1980's, Graham Nash and Jon Cone combined high quality Iris ink-jet printers with special "archival" inks of their own invention that were intended to create prints that would have wonderful color and the stability to resist fading over time. By the early 1990's another pioneer, Jack Duganne popularized the word 'gicle?Le' to describe the result of printing with these special machines and inks that came from a technology used for commercial printing in a process called "pre-press" proofing.

 

The Giclee Printers Association (GPA) was formed in 2001.

 

While there are some devotees who feel that only an "Iris" brand printer can create a true Giclee print, this is just not so. In recent years, printers by HP, Epson, and Canon have been developed to serve this market, and they far exceed the performance of the original Iris printers. A majority of prints are produced using Epson printers

 

French Mount

French mounting is an option available for most of our prints. This type is mounting is 5mm thicker than the normal mount , giving the image a far more luxurious look. Fletcher uses this form of mounting for his drawings and colour studies as well. The piece is presented with board backing and clear wrap, ready for a frame of your choice. This mounting option is also suitable for presenting as a gift.

 

ABOUT SILKSCREENS

 

Screen printing is a variety of stencil printing. The basic concept involves the simple physical application of colour directly onto a surface. A gauze screen is fixed tautly on a rectangular frame. This screen is laid directly on top of a sheet of paper. Printing ink is spread over the upper side of the mesh and forced through it with a squeegee (a rubber blade) so that the ink is transferred through the screen to the paper on the other side. The image is built up colour by colour, each screen being a separate colour. To achieve a full colour print, over thirty separate screens are used.

 

The design is applied to the screen in various ways. A stencil of paper or plastic can be cut and attached to the underside of the screen. Areas of the screen can be painted out with a liquid that sets and blocks the holes in the mesh. An impervious design can be fixed photographically to the mesh.

 

The screen is usually made of silk and thus the process is often called ‘silk-screen printing’. However since the 60's the more durable nylon or metal mesh has replaced the use of silk in the screens. In the U.S.A. the process is often referred to as ‘serigraphy’, and the works produced as ‘serigraph prints’ or ‘serigraphs’.

 

A screen print can often be distinguished from a lithograph (the process most similar to it) by the woven pattern of the screen, which is impressed into the surface of the ink, or by the heavy charge of ink that is transferred to the paper. The depth and richness of colour that can be achieved with the silkscreen printing process is unmatched, except in an original work.

 

Edition Size, Limited Editions

A printing of a group of prints from a single screen is called an edition. A limited edition is one in which the numbers of the print are decided beforehand, and then the edition size is limited to that number. Then the screen is destroyed or changed in some way so that only a limited number of prints are made of that image.

These limited edition prints are each numbered below the image. This takes the form of the number of each image in the order of its making, then separated by a slash, the number of the total edition. In this way, a number of 29/195, means the 29th image completed out of a total of 195 made. Part of the edition is also marked AP - Artist's Proof. Traditionally these were given to the artist as part payment for signing the edition and were 10% of the edition size. Due to their limited number and sometimes personal connection with the artist AP's are considered more collectable and normally carry a premium over the standard edition. AP numbers are marked using ‘AP’ and sometimes Roman numerals.

 

Certain collectors prefer lower, mid or higher numbers of the series; this is a personal preference. In general the smaller the total edition number, the rarer the prints and the higher the value. Thus a print from an edition of 99 should be more valuable, all other factors being equal, than a print from an edition size of 500.

 

History

The origins of screen printing are found in various forms of stencil printing in China, Japan, Germany, France and England, but it was in America in the twentieth century that the form was significantly developed. In 1914 a multi screen process was developed in California and used during the First World War by sign painters and decorators of flags, pennants and banners. By the 1930s the form had become very popular with artists. An important development in the 1960s was the use of photo stencils, which allow the artist to incorporate photographic images into the print. The most notable artist to use this medium was Andy Warhol, who produced many of his iconic portraits as silkscreens.