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Thursday, 7 April 2011

Ivo Textiles

Whist doing a placement at Christopher Farr Cloth Isolde got an opportunity to go to Ivo Textiles a screen printing studio in Southall, London. Ivo was founded in 1963 by Ivo Tonder, Ellen and Victor Haas. They started off in Paddington printing for Zandra Rhodes and Vivenne Westwood and have grown over the years.

What was most impressive about the studio for me was the size! They have three 52 meter screen printing tables, one for hand printing and the other two for Gali printing, this means that the stoppers are manually adjusted for each print but the screen is pulled mechanically. This is much faster but retains the hand printed quality and logo. It then has to be put through a baker (everything is done on site) and if needed a sanforizer, which softens the fabric after printing- especially if the design has a lot of dye coverage.
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They have a rotary printer, the screens are round and the machine can hold up to eight screens (so eight colours) – the screens stay in place and the fabric moves under them which rotates the screens, the dye is pumped through the screens. This results in a much faster printing process and works especially well with stripes as there is no break between the screens. The fabric then goes through an attached baker and comes out the other side ready unless it requires sanforizing or any other special treatment.

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Also on the premises is a flat bed printer, this one can hold 14 screens- again the screens stay in place and the fabric moves on a conveyor belt underneath stopping at in the right place for the screens to be mechanically pulled. This is an even faster process – but you loose some of the quality because there is no drying time between the screens. Again there is a baker attached to this printer.
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They have a range of basic base cloths that you can use but many companies choose to source their own fabrics that can then be stored on site. After a fabric is sanforized it goes through a quality control and gets rolled up and is ready to go. However most clients prefer to be there for as much of the printing as possible, although they have a 10% leeway for mistakes, colours do not always match perfectly and so often a strike off is done before each printing job. They hold all the colour recipes for each client but there are many things that can affect the colour like the age of the screen, the speed and the pressure of the pull.

A studio is attached where they have designers who prepare the artwork for the screens before they are exposed. The amount of work they do depends on the client, some designs come ready and some clients give a vintage fabric and request the designers do all the work. They are adding a digital printer to the facilities in the next year.

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