Sheila Gritte's Screen Printing Process

The screen is a fabric mesh that is stretched and glued to a wooden or aluminum frame. All areas of the open mesh are printable using a squeegee to “push” ink through it onto the paper surface that has been placed underneath the screen. Multiple colors can be printed by creating stencils to block out areas of the mesh, so that those areas no longer print. Each stencil reduces the area of the screen that is able to print, which is referred to as reductive printing. Stencils can also be created by coating the screen with a liquid photosensitive emulsion that is light sensitive once it is dry. 

I create a transparency using opaque markers and when I expose the transparency onto the screen using a light box table, the areas that are drawn with the marker will wash out of the screen creating an open area in the screen, which is the only area that will print. I create multiple transparencies for each area of the print that I work on and then work reductively within that stencil by using screen filler and a paint brush to block out the areas that I no longer want to print. Each time I create a new screen and stencil, I have to register it (line it up) on the paper, with what has already been printed, so I refer to it as a jig saw puzzle method. One color at a time is printed and each one is referred to as a “color run.” Prints can be created using only 1 color run or an infinite number of color runs. To date, the most color runs I have done in a print is 90.  All of my silk screen prints are hand-pulled (printed by hand, one color at a time), limited editions. Since these prints are all hand-pulled and not duplications created by a machine, there is the possibility of variation between each print in the edition; therefor they are considered to be “multiple originals.”