Here at Forward Screen Printing, we like to pay attention to the past, because the past offers up many good lessons and techniques of how things are done. It is a great way to really understand the history of what we do here, “screen print.” We value screen printing as an art form, and one that has been passed down from many previous generations.
Screen printing has a very old history and we would like to share some of that with those who are interested.
The art of screen printing first appeared in China during the Song Dynasty, within the years of 960-1279 AD. They used it for printing with hand applied inks and advanced the craft by joining it with block printing.
It wasn’t until the late 1700’s that the process was introduced to Western Europe, and later gained wide spread acceptance when silk mesh was more available from the east.
Screen printing was first patented in England by Samuel Simon in 1907. It was originally used as a method to print fancy wall paper, linens, silk, and other fine textiles. This was the birth of the industrial form of screen printing.
As most of its origin focused on industrial production, screen printing was eventually adopted by artists. They saw it as a great way to expressively print their art in a medium that was easily duplicated. The artist adoption of the craft took place well before the 1900’s.
In the 1930’s a group of artists formed the National Serigraphic Society. This was done primarily to separate the art form of screen printing from the industrial use of the process. They coined the term “Serigraphy” as a combination of the words “Seri”, latin for silk, and “Graphein”, a greek word meaning to write, or to draw.
Probably the most famous credit for artistic screen printing was given to Andy Warhol. His screen prints became world famous, most notably his 1962 depiction of Marilyn Monroe, and 1968 screen print of the Campbell’s Soup cans.
The Printers National Environmental Assistance Center says that “screen printing is arguably the most versatile of all printing processes.” This fact has become very apparent in the crafts adoption by many underground subcultures. Since the 1960’s screen prints have become a significant cultural aesthetic seen on movie posters, record album covers, flyers, shirts, commercial fonts, and advertising around the world.
Today, it is believed that screen printing on garments accounts for over half of the screen printing activity in the United States.
We like to consider ourselves here at FWD, as unofficially being a part of the “National Serigraphic Society”, in that we treat our printing as an art form. Like many of the craftsmen before us, we pride ourselves in taking the time to make each job come out as a piece of art.
So whether you are an accomplished artist, or a small business looking for some promo prints, we will handle your job as artists of this age old craft.