Sunday, 27 October 2013

Printing Workshop 1 - Image Transfer

A few weeks ago, I attended a one day workshop at Broadstairs Adult Education Centre - "Screen Printing and Image Transfer".

I'd started glancing through the available courses because partly I was feeling a little lost after realising I needed to take another year out before going back to University, but I've also been suffering from a major case of creative block lately, so I was looking for some inspiration too.  One of the modules I've already studied as part of my photography degree was called "Photography in Context" it was a brilliant module which really encouraged the students to think outside the box and made me realise you could do an awful lot of different and creative things with photography - and we didn't even do anything like this either!

We started off working on the image transfer part of the workshop as this would take longer to dry, it's also the part of the workshop I took the most photos of...

1.  We first stapled the calico fabric to a drawing board, then cut out the photocopy the tutor gave us, right up to the edge of the picture  (everyone had the same image)

2.  Drawing corner guide marks on the fabric with the image face down as it will be stuck to the fabric that way.

3.  Painting an undercoat of watered down white matt emulsion onto the fabric - I chose to make mine a little rough and ready so the fabric would show through here and there.

4.  Speeding up the drying process a little!

5.  Tracing out some of the features of the photocopy - not forgetting to add corner guide marks so everything will line up later on.

6.  Positioned using the guide marks, then transferring the traced lines onto the fabric.

7.  Hopefully you can see the traced lines in this photo  (sorry about the picture quality but these were taken using a mobile phone).

8.  Underpainting the image in colours that should give the finished artwork a Warhol-esque style.

9.  Placing the photocopy onto foil to stop it sticking to the wrong things while painting on the image transfer medium.

10.  I didn't take a photo of the process of painting on the medium and placing the photocopy face down on the fabric, using the corner marks as a guide because I needed both hands for the job.  But here you can see the tutor's hand showing me how to cover the image and gently remove any air bubbles that may have formed as the whole image needs to be in contact with the fabric or the transfer won't work properly.

11.  And now we have to wait patiently until everything is completely dry... Oh look!  It was nearly time for lunch  :)

12.  I chose to remove my piece from the board to speed up the drying process but if have the time to wait, its actually a lot easier to leave it in place for the next stage.

13.  You need to gently wet the paper and VERY gently, using the heel of you hand in light circular movements, rub the surface paper away.  This does take some time, but its better to take it slow and steady as you don't want to do any damage to the picture underneath, which is quite fragile.  I have to say I did cause a little bit of damage to mine as I was impatient (you can see the missing bottom right-hand corner) - but it was very exciting to see the image emerge!  I didn't actually finish this stage at the workshop; after it had dried, you could see more paper fibres so I had a second go at it at home.

14.  After you have removed as much of the paper fibres as you can, you need to seal the finished piece with some matt acrylic varnish - I didn't have any, so I used some PVA glue mixed with water at about a 1:1 ratio and it worked very well.  I also used the PVA mixture to stick my fabric to a piece of mount board which gave more stability to the areas where I'd rubbed too hard, it also means my piece is now ready for a frame, which I hope to get very soon.

So there you have it!  One image transfer with under-painted colour.  I really enjoyed making this and it's given me lots of ideas for doing things with my own photos.  So as soon as I can put together all the equipment I need - watch this space!

It took me the best part of a fortnight to recover from taking part in this workshop, but I got so much out of it, that it was worth it.  I'll post some details about the screen printing part of the workshop another day.