Tuesday, 8 April 2008

For those precious found papers

... there are image transfers.

In one of my recent envelopes I received something too precious to cut up, glue on and paint over. It's a handwritten letter from my friend's gran. I think I'm getting very sentimental about things like that, in particular since I have only one grandparent left (who incidentally doesn't write letters but talks on the phone once in a while).

I did a big of digging around - remembering that much of mixed media and altered media works with transfers - image transfers with gel medium, alcohol or various other ways - not dissimilar to monotypes in printmaking.

So, I scanned in the letter, printed it on ordinary paper, treated the surface of the receiving paper with some acrylic gloss medium, positioned the print out onto it, used the back of a spoon to burnish the paper thoroughly before starting to peel off the print slowly.

There are various posts - some tell you to remove the print before it's totally dry, others want you to wait til it's dry - the paper separated quite neatly to leave the ink printing on the receiving paper. Some of the stuck on paper can be peeled off carefully once the medium has dried. But it requires some experimenting with best times, best effect etc. And once finished and dried should be sealed with some acrylic medium before proceeding further.

Transferred onto the prepared collage background.
Left the original plain paper, right the collage piece with
two layers, one in black and one in blue -
I'm pleased that the blue transferred quite strongly too,

I actually liked the effect of some transfer paper remaining stuck.

This plain paper transfer is a really simple technique - it produces a soft type of transfer but even for writing it seems to work to the extent that I was looking for.

Here are some useful posts and sites I've come across in the process,
  • starting with the WetCanvas post on image transfers here
  • the plain paper transfer is taken from this site here
  • and Toni's A Spattering blog has a couple of further useful posts on transfer techniques here
Using the project for this kind of technique explorations is really good fun: it's plenty of reason enough to try out some of the more involved collage techniques as well as to push what particular media can or cannot do. - Otherwise it would be too much of an assembly line of artist books, anyway, wouldn't it.

Maybe you want to know, but I've now received twelve envelopes with various bits and pieces of recycling from Chicago, Ayrshire, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow, Newcastle (Australia), Jerusalem, ... and I've been told there are more in the post from Jerusalem (again), Birmingham and Sunderland... very good. I probably need a bigger box for the envelopes soon.


Yellow said...

I've always fancied printing, maybe block printing, over collage. My sister has a print of Klee's Two dromedaris and a camel, or something like that. It'd be cool to imitate the blocks of tones in collage maybe.

Lindsay said...

Gesa, thanks for a rich post. I've been messing around with this transfer stuff lately and getting frustrated. The lazer tran does not stick to the surface of wc paper....I tried Toni's transfer method but must have bought the wrong transparancies. I'm thinking that I just have to suck it up and learn photo shop. I'm off to check out your links in the hopes of finding what I need!

Gesa said...

I like that printing idea, Steph... yes - as the collages proceed, I'm getting to try out different things; already got a couple of other ideas. But maybe trying some simple monotype over the collage would be a plan.
Lindsay - hm, yes, I kind of figured that much of the transfer involves a fair bit of trial and error - just like my glue, varnish and sealant experiments. Have a look at the links. I was surprised with the plain paper transfer and that it worked pretty straight off. But then again, I was quite happy to have something rustic :) Easily pleased... this one. Let me know how you're getting on.

Lindsay said...

I just ordered some of the plain paper inkjet transfer paper from Dharma Trading (only in AMerica could a business have this name!!)It's a great company for allthings textile.
Thanks for the recommendation. I think this is going to work.

Today's post is wonderful. I'll be back to look more closely. Great idea!

littlemithi said...

Thanks so much for sharing your process ... incredibly helpful ...

Gesa said...

Thanks Mithi - though, this is possibly the simplest process of transfer, isn't it?! Can't help but feeling a bit like a cheat after having tried out just plain paper and disregarded the complex shopping lists of transfer papers, media, inks etc... LOL. But am trying for some of the more complex ones too...