The 20th Century

Today’s textile printing technique….A technical breakthrough : the screen print

During the 1930’s a new technique was discovered known as screen printing. Also named “La Lyonnaise” technique, because of it’s invention in Lyon. “Flat bed” screen printing revolutionised the textile printing industry. A fine gauze mesh was tightly stretched onto a frame. (Polyester or polyamide replaced the gauze in later years). Lacquer was applied in order to block out the color where it was not wanted, firstly by hand, and then by photosensitivity. The frame was then placed onto the fabric, and the dye paste forced through the fine mesh, using a special implement known as a “squeegee”. During the 1950’s this process was mechanised.

In 1962, the rotary screen printing process was launched. Based on the same principles as “flat bed” screen printing process, the rotary print uses a nickel cylinder, micro-perforated, the dye being fed from the inside. The success was immediate and for a second time in the space of 15 years, textile printing was revolutionised.

Home furnishing’s Fabric Art nouveau, Wood block print on cotton, England, 1902

Home furnishing’s Fabric Art deco, Wood block print on cotton, France, 1930

Fabric Art deco designed by Sonia Delaunay, Wood block print on silk, France, 1929

Home furnishing’s Fabric “Vincent – E” Screen print  on viscose, Allemagne, Pausa, Mössingen, about 1950-55

Sample for fashion, creation by Léonard Paris, screen print  on silk, winter 1977

Home furnishing’s Fabric “Bacio”, screen print  on cotton, Italy, design by Piero Fornassetti, 2004

Research and development

The progress made during the 19th century in the field of textile chemistry was surpassed in the 20th. The range of colors increased, as did their light and colorfast properties. A new technique appeared in the 1980’s; Transfer printing, in which a high temperature is used to transfer the dyes from paper onto fabric. Often used for printing a motif onto T shirts, this technique can also be used when printing onto synthetic fabric.Today’s technology favours computer controlled laser printing, with dyes projected directly onto the cloth.

20th century design motifs. Traduction and creation

Throughout the history of textile printing, the designer has always taken, at one time or another, his inspiration from past times. The ancient plant designs created by Indian artists before the birth of Jesus Christ have never ceased to be re interpreted. Today, as always, design sources are drawn from history. A new role, in the form of the “stylist” has been created; Forecasting future trends, adapting creations to meet market demands, the stylist is a co-ordinator, whose ideas influence the industrialists in their choice of end product, somewhere between creation and tradition.