Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Digital Print on Pieced Silk

After I posted last month’s mini workshop for members Digital Printing Silk Surfaces, I went back through my photographs to write exactly what I did to create the 24” x 48” panel of pieced silk.  When I started to prepare surfaces to print, I had one of those "what if?" moments.  My imagination is drawing me forward to experiment widely with the printed surface.  On this particular path my inspiration was to create a silk surface that combined many pieces of silk into one print.  Now- how do I do this and further more, how do I do this and not get it stuck in my printer?
With my Epson 7890 I am pretty careful about my approach and the surfaces I print.  Wanting to print a heavy weight silk in a 24" x 48" size has it's own intricate parameters.  Using many pieces of silk put together there were many ideas to consider.  
The silk fabric had to be flat and stay on the carrier sheet.  Sometimes when fabric is printing the wetness of the ink will make the fabric lift and bunch toward the end.  Two things could happen there, the printer may quit printing because it senses something is not right, or it could jam.  Believe me I would way rather have the printer stop printing than jam!  This meant I wanted to printing to go amazingly well.  So here are the decisions I made to create my study.
* I laid out several pieces of silk and free cut them just like I used to do for my spontaneous pieced art quilts.  
* Cutting the pieces to fit together I then used inkAID Clear Semi Gloss precoat to coat the surface of each piece.  
* Once the piece dried, they had changed shape quite a bit and had to be recut.  They did however stay flat as I pressed them from the back side before cutting.  
*My aim all along was to get a amazingly flat surface, so the printer would not have any trouble.  My 7890 is a brilliant machine and it would be wonderful if it lasted a really truly long time:)
* Once the silk was recut, I used a cloth tape to attach the pieces together and coated just the tape this time with the same precoat I used on the fabric.
*The cloth tape had some little darts that were created as the tape curved.  I pressed those down and got the tape flat when I ironed the piece while the tape was still slightly wet. 
*Then wondering if the tape edges would lift, I stitched all edges with a clear thread.  
*Leaving nothing to chance I then attached the silk surface to a carrier sheet. First with applying Spray Photo Mount to the back of the print- I also ran double faced scotch tape along the tape on the backside.  Plus before I taped the edges with masking tape to hold the surface firm for printing, I used some double faced scotch tape on the edges where they were a little rippled and didn't lay exactly flat.  
One more thing before the print could be put into the printer.  The image file had to be manipulated.  I took a picture of the surface, transferred it into my computer, opened it in Photoshop and it became the base of the image I was designing.  I wanted to use text, so I used text that I had typed from the Thesaurus that came from words that had to do with forests, trees and the like.  I pulled the text into another layer on top of the background and took pieces of other image to overprint on the design. Before the image was printed I turned off the layer of the color of silk, so that wouldn't print.  Once it was printed my plan is to print other surfaces with the color of silk layer and create a cheesecloth skin and some metal pieces to build a textural piece from the texture.  
Print on carrier sheet
Final print

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