Friday, January 29, 2010

Clear Matte Precoat from inkAID

Last year inkAID introduced a new product Clear Matte Precoat.  In the last couple of weeks I have been using the coating on a variety of surfaces. These surfaces include: recycled beverage cans, hand made bark paper from kozo fiber, hand made cheesecloth skins, metal mesh, pima tex cotton, organdy, lace paper, lutradur and recycled printers plates.  I tested it on surfaces next to inkAID's Semi Gloss Precoat, Pearl Iridescent and Type ll since these are my most used coatings.

Clear Matte gives a translucent, matte finish which allows the underlying image to show through. If you have a dyed or painted surface, the colors will show through on the print creating an overprint. Depending on how dark the colors are on the surface of the fabric or paper, you will see sections of the print or not.
What I found with my printing is that on porous fabrics such as organdy, the clear matte will give a slightly clearer print then the semi gloss.  When printing on metals and cans, it has a nice matte finish, but still allows the shade of the metal to show.  In some cases it is hard to see the difference between the coatings used.  I encourage you to try it on the surfaces that you like to print to see what you think.  It's always good to see how coatings perform on various surfaces.

As with all the inkAID coatings Clear Matte results in a quality print.  It has some adhesive in it, so it is safe to use on metals, but may show tracking with pizza wheels from some printers.  I had none of that going on with my prints.  Each print was professional quality with a clear bright image.  My printing was all created on my Epson 4800.  I printed the same image on all the surfaces so that it could be easily compared.

I loved the comparison of Type ll, Pearl and Clear Matte on the recycled beverage cans.  All 3 of these coatings created a beautiful print on the cans.  For more information on using inkAID products on fabrics and specialty papers see my workshop, "Getting Started with Digital Prints on Uncommon Surfaces."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Digital Printing Wood Veneer

Last week a company that distributes wood veneer contacted me about digital printing on their product.
Yesterday I received a couple of 17" wide pieces ready to fit my 4800 for printing.  Of course UPS came just as I was leaving to go to the airport for Winter Play.  All I had time for was to check out the product and then put it away.  Since I haven't coated and tested it, these photographs will serve to show you the 2 longer pieces I will be printing when I get back to my studio next week.

Some of the smaller pieces from their sample pack seem like they will be a little too thick, but there are many that will be just fine.  Some of the pieces have an adhesive backing so they look interesting.  Once I see how this works, I will post the information here and also give you information where to purchase the product.

I did finish my can piece based on the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park.  Thought the pics were on the hard drive I carry with me when I travel, but I guess I forgot to move them from my main computer, so next week I will show you how that piece turned out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recycle a Beverage Can to a Digital Print-Video Update

Here is the video update from my previous post. It shows a 2 of my can pieces and how I am assembling the piece based on the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Assembling Digital Prints on Beverage Cans

Finished printing 100 more cans to add to this piece.  Still haven't decided if I will wire them all across, or keep them in rows the way they are.  Regardless, I am assembling the pieces that are ready to go.  The print for this piece is from the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park.

Here also is one of the carrier sheets with the bottom half of the entire print.  Since I only print 8 cans at a time, I divide the print before printing.

Once the cans are ready, I will assemble them to fit with the other pieces.  When starting a piece, printing 100 cans to start will get me on the track of figuring out the way the piece will be assembled and what it will look like.  With this piece, the way I thought it would be is nothing near the way it worked out.  The original idea about constructing the cans came from the installation for Mack Web Solutions.  (Click on the link to see the blog post)

When I arrived to install the piece, all the cans were in one piece and they evolved into being cut, stacked and wired together with glass beads separating the layers.  For this Mariposa Grove piece, I cut the top layer of each square in 4 pieces.  The bottom layer is a duplicate of the top layer, but in one piece.  I crocheted 28 gauge stainless wire to put between the 2 layers.  Then copper wire was used to wire the layers together and add it to the piece.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Digital Printing on Beverage Cans- Update

There is something about printing beverage cans that intrigues me.  The fluidity of Forest Surfaces 14, my large can piece(on the left) contrasts with the rigidity of the can surface.  Once the cans are printed, cut and woven together with waxed linen, they no longer resemble the can, but an interesting assemblage of pattern.

My process changes from time to time as I figure ways to improve my approach to this surface.  When printing around 200 beverage cans at a time, the process from start to finish --precoat, print, top coat---takes about 5 days.  Plus you have to be absolutely, positively 100% sure no to damage your printer in any way during the printing process.  

While working through my ideas I ended up printing using my 4800 and setting up a carrier sheet to print 8 cans at a time.  Instead of using double sided tape, I chose to use ½” masking tape that will tape to can sides, next to each other.  This way none of the edges can lift and problems are at a minimum. 

Once the cans are printed, instead of removing them one by one, the cans are lifted together with their tape in tact.  Well once in awhile it tears, but for the most part, as I run my hand under the cans to lift the tape from the page, the cans come off as one piece.  You can then let the ink dry for a couple of days, paint the top coat over all the cans together and cut them apart once the top coat dries.

You  need to cut the edges of the cans anyway, since the tape blocks the edges of the can from printing.  This way, you will do it all at one time after the top coat and save the step to take the cans apart in an earlier stage. May not seem like a lot, but with 100’s of cans it makes a difference.

These can pieces are part of a new project.  I have been printing surfaces for an art book assemblage for the last 3 days.  Amate bark paper, velum, tyvec, 2 thicknesses of lutradur and beverage cans.  Not sure where it is going yet, but my I always start printing as I consider the assemblage of the surfaces.

As I work on this new project, I am assembling other cans to finish a piece started a few months ago.  Next week I will have a new youtube video about digitally printing cans and where they end up.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Teesha and Tracy Moore's Winter Play Retreat

From January 28th through Feb 1st, 2010, Teesha and Tracy Moore will host their annual Winter Play Retreat at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend Washington.  This year I will be spending some exciting creative time with them.

During winter play, there will be demos and workshops that are optional.  Tracy and Teesha are masters at their craft and truly inspirational.  Teesha will be demonstrating journaling with paint, collage, copic airbrush, pens etc. Tracy will work with polymer clay to make ancient, relic looking journals, boxes, jewelry, etc.  He will include methods of binding the journals we make with clay.  Tiphoni will be teaching a short version of her watercolor self portraits workshop.  View the recent Play Retreat video on youtube.

Looking forward to this experience for the fun of it.  Having fun is a wonderful way to expand your creativity.  When you take the opportunity to play, you let go.  Everyday, I work on my art in both the commercial side and the awesome, pure, art creating side.  In my digital work, I have been printing and testing surfaces that are new and some that I have worked with before and want to push further.  As I explore at Winter Play, my intention is to put some of the pieces together in my mind that I have been mulling over and then see where that leads.  Whenever I separate myself from my studio and start to work almost around the clock in another place, magic happens.  Sleep less, create more and flow.

If I start to gather my supplies now, I should remember everything.  Here is what I am bringing so far.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Alaska Fiber Festival - Mixed Media Fiber Journal

Mixed Media Fiber Journal will be another one of the workshops I teach at the Alaska Fiber Festival. This workshop takes place on Wednesday, March 10, 2010.  The workshop description on my workshop page shows images of a mixed media journal, created with one piece of Fabriano Artistico.  Lots of discovery will result when working with just one sheet of paper.

Although, the journal we create for this workshop will be of a certain size, there will be examples of other ways to use the same sheet of paper to create another configuration of a journal. It is amazing what you can do with one sheet of this watercolor paper.

We will use all sorts of scraps to collage the pages with gel medium as our glue.  Join me for this fast paced workshop in beautiful Alaska!