Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sun printing - our last activity for the year

As well as enjoying a social lunch today, we played with sun printing.
A great variety of effects

We used a variety of fabrics, including cottons, polyester, and quilted and stitched sandwiches as well as a variety of brands of paints. It was very interesting to see the effects that resulted from using different fabric manipulation methods including basic masking, scrunching,  twisting and folding.

 Lyn's quilted piece which had been partially painted previously showed am amazing range of effects on both sides of the sandwich, especially where the paint on one side flowed along the stitched lines on the other.

Painted side of Lyn's quilted sandwich exposed to the sun
Reverse side of Lyn's piece - previously partially painted on the left
and showing paint from the other sides along the stitching lines on the right

 We thought this might be an interesting activity to do again some time, building on what we learnt today and perhaps using stitched and quilted  fabrics and commercial fabrics of a varied palette.

PS. We missed you Buffy

Photographic hologram

After reading a number of articles on photographic holograms, I was intrigued by the possibilities. The holographic effect is achieved by using two identical photos, one of them on a transparent fabric, separated by a spacer. The articles I read nominated stretcher bars to provide the spacer, but I decided to use an inexpensive paint canvas to provide a frame and to create the space needed to produce the effect.

 Preparing the frame:
I chose an 8”x10” canvas. By turning it over and using the back of it, I had a ‘box’ with wooden sides and a canvas base, with a 5”x7”opening - perfect for a photo. I left the canvas attached to the frame, and discarded the wedges that came with it. I wasn’t sure how much of the inside of the box would be seen once it was all assembled, so I painted the inner sides with black acrylic paint, making sure that there was paint inside the grooves provided for the wedges.

Preparing the photos:
I chose a photo of the beach at the northern tip of Denmark taken on a visit this year. I made some adjustments in Photoshop to brighten and sharpen the photo; then printed it once on cotton for the base, and once on semi-transparent silk organza for the overlay. It is important that the photo on the organza is in the centre of the sheet, but you can be more conservative with the cotton. I used a Jacquard Cotton Sheet bought from ($22.95 for a pack of 10), and ExtravOrganza also from ozquilts ($17.95 for a pack of 5). After printing, I cut the cotton sheet to the size of the photo but left the organza sheet whole.

Attaching the first photo to the canvas:
I was not sure how the photo printed on cotton would react if I used a wet glue to attach it to the canvas base, and I knew it would be awkward to get an iron into the box to attach it with vliesofix, so I decided on a two-stage process.

I first attached the photo to a piece of adhesive backed felt with vliesofix, then peeled the backing off and pressed it onto the canvas base of the box with hand pressure. This seems to have been successful.

Attaching the overlay:
I lay the silk organza sheet over the top of the box and carefully and evenly stapled it all around the top. The trick here is to make sure that the image on the overlay is exactly over the base image. Once it was securely fastened I trimmed off any organza overhanging the outer edge of the box and made sure that all the staples were well embedded in the timber around the top of the box.

To complete the picture, I added a frame of stiffened felt (available from Spotlight in a variety of colours) to cover the top edge of the box. I cut it 8”x10” with a 5”x7” cutout in the centre and attached it to the top of the box with gel medium. As a final touch I also used gel medium to attach some small stones I had picked up on the beach. It has held them well.

I am not sure that this is the best sort of photo for this technique – perhaps something with more action or colours or contrasts etc might be better. I also now wonder about the necessity of the base photo being printed on fabric. Printing it on photographic paper would make it sharper and clearer which might improve the final effect. Each of these ideas will be tested in my next project!