In the hip borough of Brooklyn, the elaborate process of manual printing has been rediscovered. Just as in days long gone, beautiful wallpapers are crafted here with great attention to detail, using traditional screen printing techniques. Emulsion is spread with a squeegee through a perforated screen onto long sheets of paper. In the digital age we live in, it is of particular interest to understand how something is manufactured and what processes are used.
The artists and creatives of the 21st century combine the intricacies of arts and crafts with the precision and almost limitless possibilities of digital technology. They develop their designs on the computer and transfer them onto the screen. The screen, a piece of mesh stretched over a frame, is coated with a light-sensitive material. The digitally created design is then transferred onto the mesh via a projection process and exposed to light. After the exposure process, the mesh is washed and the perforated parts are uncovered on those (unexposed) areas where the motive was.
This creates a kind of stencil. This stencil is put on the paper sheet and the paint is pressed through the mesh onto the paper with a squeegee. This is where the differences between this manual process and industrial printing come to the fore. .
Depending on the amount and type of paint, small "imperfections" are formed. New York artist Andy Warhol was amongst the many fans of this technique. In the 1960s and 70s, Warhol, possibly the most famous representative of the Pop Art movement, mastered screen-printing techniques like no other. His works and methods continue to inspire today's creative wallpaper designers.
In the trend-setting metropolis of New York, traditional crafts have been rediscovered and graphic and fashion designers as well as artists once again use their hands to distinguish their work from mass-produced products.
Be it typesetters, shoemakers or printers: Crafts are real, crafts are individual and unique. Limited editions or single pieces can be customised according to clients' wishes. When it comes to materials and colours, the sky is the limit.
And this is exactly why screen printing is hip again. Of course, hand-crafted wallpapers are not cheap, but the price is quickly forgotten once one lays eyes on the exceptionally beautiful and high-quality designs created in this manner.
These are no run-of-the-mill average wallpapers - they boast unique, stunning patterns, a melange of quaint old-fashioned and funky, a cross between psychedelic and floral, a mixture of digital and analogue.
Screen printing is here to stay - not just because of its individuality but for its quality and purity of colours. The prints are characterised by beautiful luminosity and a high level of colour accuracy as well as thickness and excellent coverage.
As for colours, there are almost no limits to the possibilities: matt or glossy, with 3D effects, scented or with glitter. 21st century crafts are an absolute well of inspiration for artists and creatives. Mirror or relief effects, holograms or neon colours - the digital age allows us to combine individuality, quality and authenticity.