The printing term giclée was first coined in the USA, by fine art printmaker Jack Duganne in the early 1990s. He wanted a unique name for his art editions produced on an Iris Drum Proofing printer, the digital forerunner of today's inkjet machines. He chose "giclée" a French word meaning to spurt or jet. The term Giclée now refers to a Digital print created on a high-resolution inkjet printer, for the Fine Art market.
A Giclée print should be printed on acid-free paper using pigmented archival inks so that the work remains as lightfast as possible. There are two main printing machine manufacturing rivals in the Fine art area. Epson and Canon both make excellent machines with specially formulated inks for long life and colour intensity, at Harwood King we think that the Canon produces the better ink longevity, and the Aardenburg Imaging and Archives test results seem to back this up.
The paper we mainly use here at Harwood King is produced in the UK by St Cuthberts Mill. This paper is 100% Cotton Rag and has been made at St Cuthbert's since the 1800s. We also stock a rage of other high quality art papers based on our years of experience working with artists, including photographic papers and canvas.
The biggest attraction of giclée printing is the ability to produce a small print run at an affordable price. Silkscreen the major player in the print production market at that point required very big budgets and so the unit print cost of producing a short run made the individual print uncommercial. Giclée on the other hand held out the potential promise of print on demand. These days the print on demand ability of the inkjet has even seen off litho in the poster print market, and it nearly killed off silkscreen well.
At Harwood King we have used our knowledge of the traditional printmaking techniques to enhance the giclee printmaking production, often combining it with silkscreen glazes, gold leaf, diamond dust, specialist inks and hand finishing. It is our strong belief that a print should be a work of art in it's own right, not a simple photographic reproduction of an original. This unfortunately is all too common these days, and something we constantly fight against. We encourage artists to work with us and use our skills to help them produce an original print.
Contact us for more information on our giclee printing services or printmaking in general. We welcome both artists and the public to see round the studios and learn how we go about producing the work we do.