There are many methods of screen printing! For my fine art prints on paper, I use a hand-painted reduction printing process. With this process I am able to get a little more hands-on with my prints. Each print is part of a limited edition (the total number of prints created) and each edition is unique, it cannot be exactly replicated ever again!
For many of my textile prints and note cards, I use photo emulsion, which is a more commercial method of screen printing. By digitizing designs and burning them onto the screen through light exposure, this process enables endless printing potential!
Reduction printing is essentially printing with layers; each color is printed on top of the previous one. First, I create a "stencil" of my image by painting liquid screen filler onto a mesh screen. Like most printmaking forms, I work in the mirror image of the final print image. Using screen printing ink and a squeegee to pull ink across the screen, the ink will only come through onto the surface in areas that are not blocked off with the filler. The printing of each individual color is called a "run." After each run the screen must be washed and dried to prep for the next layer. I then go back to the screen and add more details to the image, blocking off more and more of the screen with filler. Much like traditional Japanese wood block printing, the "stencil" created by the screen is permanently changed with each new layer, which means you cannot duplicate prints again after the screen has been changed. The more complicated or colorful the print, the more times this process must be repeated, until the desired result is achieved.
Reduction printing is playful, usually prints will turn out completely different than I first imagine them. I choose to use this method because I enjoy the meticulous process, painting and imagining the negative space, the feel and texture that working with a paintbrush gives to the prints, and the uniqueness of creating a limited edition.