When Lorenz Boegli started his career as a signwriter, he never expected to become one of the most respected, progressive and creative screen printers in Europe.
Situated in the flat Swiss farmlands somewhere between Zurich and Bern is the small town of Müntschemier. This quiet, unassuming place with a population of just over 1,000 people is home to Lorenz’s workshop. When you see the scale of the industrial unit he occupies, it’s easy to imagine a team of craftsmen busy on any one of the commissions passing through the studio. However, this is not the case — this is an incredibly small operation. Lorenz, amazingly, does all of the printing himself, and the rest of the business is handled with the support of his wife and one other.
He has two main printing beds in the space — one is fully automatic which, once set, will run multiple prints at the push of a button. The other, which we were using to run proofs for Paper And No1 on, still requires each sheet of paper to be fed in by hand. The artwork is made of three screens — each one a different grade from 77–140. The higher the number, the finer the mesh that the ink gets pushed through. The finer mesh allows for greater detail, whereas the coarser grade is better for more viscous inks. For this first edition, we are printing on Plike Dark Blue 330gsm because of its exceptionally smooth surface — the perfect marriage to high-quality screen printing.
On top of the three screen grades, we are using three different ink systems. The first an iridescent silver, which Lorenz refers to as a ‘flip-flop’ ink. The ultra-fine quartz particles in it allow light to pass through it in such a way that it becomes invisible to the eye from certain angles.
The second one that goes down is a gold that contains pigments more commonly found in the cosmetic industry. The workshop is full of stunning examples Lorenz has printed where the impact of light on the surface is such that the images feel more like they are backlit — like a computer screen — than ink on paper in any traditional sense. The ability to get such fine detail from viscous inks like these is a technique that Lorenz has been pioneering for many years. The last screen to give the finishing touch is a standard Pantone colour mixed with fluorescent ink.
As his website says, ‘Lorenz Boegli is a magician with materials’. When these skills are combined with beautiful papers like Plike from G.F Smith, the magic becomes something truly unique. Together they create an impression that is impossible to ignore.