Image Transfer

 Posted by on September 2, 2012  Add comments
Sep 022012
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Learning a new technique takes time, and effort, and patience. Not a good combination when a deadline looms and one has a limited supply of some very special paper to experiment with. The concept was fine but the reality was a bit of a dream within the timeframe.

Having a copier fall in my lap (so to speak, for literally it would have killed me) was fantastic. (“Compact” and “lightweight” are not epithets that could be applied to that behemouth, despite the fact that it does only 10% of the baby that sits beside me.) Learning to use it with the finesse required to print what I'd envisioned on very textured and delicate paper was another thing altogether. And how to prepare the file in post production to copy from. And how to get the print from the photocopy to the harakeke substrate.

Quite a few design problems to solve, and I have very quickly discovered that there must be quite a lot of water to go under the bridge of technique and learning (a veritable torrent, perhaps!) before I will get onto the paper something I'll be happy to exhibit.

Cue entrance from aGathering community brains trust.

Any information or links welcome! My initial work has been using turps as a solvent to soften up the toner to transfer. I understand that acetone works better – is less clumsy, transferring finer detail. This will mean that I can work from a more detailed print. Originally I've had to make the image very contrasty to photocopy well. I also have the issue of shadows on tree bark… firstly soft and sharpish on the same plane of focus, secondly to eliminate the bark texture as it interferes with the paper texture and thirdly, varying densities of shadow which will require subtelty when it comes to photocopy and transfer. Those of you who have grown up with the old photocopiers will know that subtelty in reproduction terms was not a strong point! You'll get an idea of the prints I want to use from an earlier post on aGathering – the Three Ketes.

So, I'm just throwing this out there for any input, regardless of whether you've had experience with the technique or not. Sometime random ideas are the best!!


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  8 Responses to “Image Transfer”

  1. Jenny, I so want to make a helpful suggestion but I have no answers. I can only wish you luck on your journey.

  2. Massive amounts of acetone left for 1 or 2mins to release will get you a heavy transfer over the normal probably 10seconds. you also need to have something to transfer it with, something that will squash every millimeter of the copy onto the harakeke. I used a print making roller, but still not enough even coverage. maybe go to rave or dunn and have a go on the print making press? (with a sheet of mdf or lino to compress it?) although the large amounts of acetone wont create a hell of a lot of detail. also upping the darkness on the photocopy settings to get a lot more toner on the copy. may have to be considerate of the distortion of the image at that point. Definitely acetone or brake cleaner even? as a spray you might get a more even cover on the transfer than with acetone and a brush or roller. also you can transfer the ink from some printers (cant remember if laser printers are the good ones or the ones that dont work….) anyway, that way you could get colour? more detailed transfer aswell. not as much releases though so it is even more hit and miss. the only better thing you could be doing is screen printing them. or even laser cutting or vinyl cutting stencils? if you went that way you would have to start considering what you would be using as your fill for the stencil. (paint, ink, dye, spray, silicon, emulsion, tar, dirt? oil? compost juice?) how important is any of that to the conceptual ideas you have around the piece? are they even important? over to you mama 🙂 x

    • Also – Extremely impressed with the experiments so far! they look really beautiful to me! the mark making for me is whats really strong about them. its just the distortion of a ‘natural’ image replicated in such a conflicting way that makes the rough aesthetic more authentic for me. it also replicates the way a shadow falls, it doesnt always catch on everything in view and is interrupted by other shadows as it falls, leaving a distorted representation of the object it is replicating – interesting links there with the way the transfer falls on the contrasting texture of the harakeke paper, also that relationship with using something that has come directly from the environment that you captured and recontextualising that and changing its visual representation in the same way that a photocopier takes the contrast and reflective qualities of and object or image and recontextualises it into its own representation of the original image/object. obviously through a fairly complicated process but produces a fairly simple result. then you take that image and re represent that by transferring that image onto your paper. seems to be a common theme of distortion, re-representation and re-contextualisation of original images/objects…. oh much like your botanical series! ohhhhhh! i see again that your work is becoming cohesive….. and could definitely be pulled together into a solo exhibition….

      Sorry everyone for the massive comments and the piss taking. I have a vested interest in my mothers art making… haha

      • Rob, this is great. The best part of your comments came at the end where you say … and could definitely be pulled together into a solo exhibition… but we all know how hard it is to get your mother into that box.

  3. This sounds interesting too –
    Mortensen was a restless and relentless darkroom technician. He invented his own texture screens, an abrasion tone process (which employed the use of a razor blade to carefully scrape away emulsion off the print, and used first pumice and then in later years switched to soft carbon pencil to change the tone), the Metalchrome process (a chemical color process that utilized chemical toning—locally applied— to turn black and white prints into color prints), and a non-silver pigment process that incorporated two colors registered together to change a black-and-white negative into a color print. He was also master of the bromoil and bromoil transfer processes and the paper negative. During all this he kept his hand in etching processes, learned from his early days in New York.(17) There are some small prints at CCP, showing that Mortensen also experimented with poured or painted-on developer on film. He then made prints using these as a background, working figures and objects into the abstract pattern.(18

    • Yussssss! thank you – even links to the most obscure stuff are fantastic – you never know where you are going to get a connection from. We all get there from different places.

  4. Thank you bud for useful help! and comments. Facetious included.

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