Our prints represent the coming together of colours, textures and shapes through sustainable methods. We don't use any harmful inks or chemicals, and we are happy that our garments are not harmful to humans or the environment. Today we want to share the story of our prints: How we create and make them, an artistic and DIY process of expression and spontaneity.
Serigraphy is a combination of two Greek words seicos (silk) and graphos (writing).
In our prints, we use eco-friendly inks and sustainable screen printing practices. Usually, screen printing involves placing a fine mesh screen. The frame which holds the mesh could be made of diverse materials, such as wood or aluminium, depending on the sophistication of the machine or the artisan procedure.
A stencil is formed by blocking off parts of the screen in the negative image of the intended design we will print. That means that the unblocked spaces are the areas, lines and textures where the ink will appear on the surface of our garments.
We press the colour through the mesh screen with a rubber blade called a squeegee. The screen is usually made of a fine net of silk threads. That is where the name silk screen printing comes from.
We work delicately with our silkscreen printed patterns. We try to save and conserve the natural colours we work with. We truly believe in contributing to a better planet through sustainable methods.
A few years after launching Elementum, we felt it was time to implement another layer of shapes and colours to our garments. Therefore, we introduce silkscreen print and laser cut in our design process.
Since 2016, we started to work with natural ink for prints in our collections. Elementum garments are full of real opportunities like the ability to wear and style the garments in multiple ways. In the same way, our prints also change according to the multiple ways of wearing our garments. They too invite you to develop new perspectives using the same print and piece.
We continue to keep the handmade value in our design process, therefore our prints designs are always hand drawn, and always have a theme that has to do with the senses. For example, in SS19 collection the theme for our prints was playing and cooking, experiences that we enjoy and make us use most of our senses.
We use textile printing ink [LIVOS
] that contains mineral pigments and exclusively renewable raw materials. Free of heavy metals, it has excellent lightfastness, good rub fastness and good fastness when washing.
After printing, we can simply use sunlight to dry and fix the colours on fabrics. Screen printing by hand ensures a high-quality screen print, and also drastically cuts down on the amount of electricity used, we do not need to use heaters or dryers. We truly believe in contributing to a better planet through sustainable methods.
Making these inks require an advanced technique that different composition from normal inks and a different natural pigments to make the colour. This also means that the colour works in a different way, and smells in a different way, like the smell of fruits and vegetables. The process requires delicate attention, the results differentiate according to the fabric’s texture and colour we use, but the results much better for our consciousness and our well being.
Silkscreen print enables to re-print the same artwork in different fabrics and garments. These screens are reclaimed using safe, biodegradable solvents that remove the old emulsion and prepare the screen for the next round of artwork.
Locations / Workspace
One of the first spaces we used to develop our prints was Grafisch Atelier Daglicht
, in the centre of Eindhoven (Netherlands), a workplace where professional artists can independently produce their graphic work.
In Portugal, we work in Grémio Caldense
(G.C.C.R.) installations. A collective from Caldas da Rainha that has created a space for cultural events and a workspace for independent artists.
Both workspaces offer an artistic ambience and host a lot of different creators from different areas. We like to work in that atmosphere. It gives to us the opportunity to share knowledge with other creatives.
Know more about our Design studio here.