Screen printing is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. A roller or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing or pumping ink past the threads of the woven mesh in the open areas. Serigraphy is a combination word from the Latin word "Seri" (silk) and the Greek word "graphein" (to write or draw).
This technique has long-dating origins, and many consider the Phoenicians as its actual inventors. Lately, it became widespread in Japan, where silk frames were employed for the first time. Screen printing was patented in England by Samuel Simon in 1907. The idea was then adopted by John Pilsworth in San Francisco, who employed screen-printing to produce multi-coloured prints in the same fashion used today.
The first screen-printing machine was built in 1920 by the American E. A. Owens. Since then, this printing system rapidly became widespread thanks to its facility of preparation and the possibility of printing on any type of support (paper, metal, plastic, glass, smooth and scratchy surface). Afterwards, the introduction of new materials such as nylon, terital, and other artificial types of fabric contributed to making this technique extremely convenient.
The most famous screen-prints are definitely those realized by Andy Warhol.