In the Studio with Pace Prints: Screens and Frames

Watanabe explains that a screen is a wood or metal frame containing tightly-stretched fabric. At Watanabe Press, wood frames are created in house, while aluminum frames are outsourced—and with both types, humidity-control is extremely important. “Wood and aluminum expand and shrink according to the humidity in the air, just like paper,” he says. “It we use more than one color in the same picture, they have to meet in the exact same position.”

“For this particular [type of] printmaking, silkscreen, we have to have a screen. A screen is basically fabric with woven mesh. But just like anything else, [the screen printing process] has changed. In the old days, the silkscreen used to be silk, but silk is too expensive these days, so now we use things like polyester. It’s cheaper and stronger for this purpose. And we used to use oil-based ink, so the fabric had to be strong to bear that abuse. We recycle screens after use. It’s too expensive to destroy them.”

Photographs by Alex John Beck 

Next: Positive Transparencies 

Share article