Our printed fabrics make up the core of the business and are all printed entirely by hand in our old Victorian mill on the banks of the River Medway in Kent, England. Here, we have four 25 metre long tables and we print using the traditional silk screen method; no machinery or automation is involved in the print process whatsoever. We have a highly skilled team that has been extensively trained in all aspects of hand-printing, colour mixing and screen-making to become experts in their field.
All printed fabric orders go through the same process as outlined below. The number of colours within a design determines how many screens per design and thus how many print colours need to be mixed.
Our expert colour mixers blend various pure pigments with binders to match any given sample by eye, thus enabling infinite colour combinations. We use only harmless water- based pigments in our print colours, to protect our local environment.
The selected basecloth is pulled taut and pinned down by hand onto one or more of our padded print tables. Then the screen repeat of the chosen design is measured out and secured along the length of the steel edge rail using metal peg markers.
The vast majority of our print basecloths are composed of natural fibres, principally linen, silk and cotton (from our Origins range of pure finish fabrics.) Some synthetic fabrics are used as a print base for specific purposes, such as for outdoor applications (see our EXTEX range).
The first screen is placed in position on top of the basecloth at one end of the table then the pre-mixed colour is poured into the screen by the lead printer. The application is made by this printer using a squeegee to push the colour across the screen (through the image engraved in the mesh) to the printer opposite.
The screen is then lifted and relocated in its next position along the table and the squeegee passed across again. This process is repeated until the whole length of fabric is printed with this first colour.
After each screen has been printed, the remaining colour is collected for re-use and that screen is carefully washed with water in a hosing bay. The pigments we use are water- based and therefore environmentally friendly so can be safely washed away.
This hand-print and wash process is repeated as many times as there are colours in the design.
After each colour is laid down, the fabric is dried by highly efficient, overhead, infra-red heaters.
When the printing is finished and dried, the fabric is unpinned by hand, cut to the desired length, rolled up and removed from the table for the final process.
The printed fabric is then slowly fed through a baking tunnel on a conveyor belt. This is set at a specific high temperature, which heat-fixes the print to the basecloth.
The roll of fabric is then passed through a final inspection and packaged for despatch.
Our hand-printing is a unique and time-consuming process that is governed by a relentless attention to supreme quality and service.