Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Image Transfers

A couple weekends ago I went to a free demo at Jerry's Artarama, which is located on Old Wake Forest Road, just inside the Beltline, in Raleigh.  Contemporary collage artist Sharon DiGiulio was showing us how to do image transfers.  I was very excited when I received the email about the demo.  I've tried some image transfer techniques in the past, but was never very successful.  Sharon shared a great, simple technique for transferring images onto almost anything.  She also shared some very important tips.

The basic technique is simple.  You take some kind of medium--I use an acrylic medium--paint it on the surface of your choice, plop the photocopy/laser print of your choosing face down, then rub it real good to make sure that it all sticks together and there are no air bubbles.  Then you wait.  After an appropriate waiting period you submerse your item in water and rub off the paper.  What you're left with is the image transferred into the medium.

A couple of years ago I had tried to do image transfers onto fabric using a similar technique.  I had forgotten about this until I started digging through a pile of stuff and came across my previous attempts.  After Sharon's demo I realized what I had done wrong.  The key is to let the transfer sit for at least 24 hours.  I, ever the impatient one, had waited just long enough for my acrylic medium to dry.  Because it wasn't long enough for the medium to accept the toner from the print, the image washed off along with the paper.

Since the demo I have been doing some experimenting.  I have some white canvas left over from the curtains I made in my first apartment.  Because I prefer to print my photos out on a laser printer, rather than an inkjet, I've had a hard time finding ways to get my images onto fabric.  A vast majority of products commercially available for transferring images only work with inkjet printers.  With this method, however, I can do the transfers onto pieces of fabric, and then incorporate them into my work.  I love to wear my photographs, and now I have even more ways to do so.

I have learned some things in my experimenting.  You'll notice that the transfers on the left above are very faded.  I printed those out on glossy laser paper, which is what I normally use for crafting and such.  The second set, the ones on the right, I printed on regular copy paper.  I have surmised that the copy paper absorbs more toner than the laser paper, which means there is more toner to transfer, thus resulting in the deeper image.

I am still experimenting.  I tea-dyed some of the white canvas to age it and am now waiting the excruciating 24 hours until I can peel off the paper and reveal the results.  I am hoping that it will add some character to the image.  If all goes well it will make a nice wall-hanging.