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Monoprinting Onto Clay

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Does anyone have any handy hints for improving my monoprinting adventures? I have spent a couple of days painting sumi e-like images onto newsprint and then attempting to transfer the images onto clay slabs. So far all of my clay slabs have been coated with a thin coat of white slip, the images were painted onto newsprint using Amaco Velvet black underglaze, and then this covered with a couple of coats of the same white slip. None of my attempts have been super successful, all have required extensive touch ups of the clay slab images. Perhaps the least successful was when I allowed the underglaze painted images to dry overnight before I proceeded to covering with slip and attempting the transfer. It seemed like the underglaze had bonded quite firmly to the newsprint and didn't want to leave. Any suggestions - different paper for the initial image painting, different drying stages for slip on paper or clay slab etc? I'd love to see some of your results if you have tried this technique. Joan Klotz.

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the person to contact re this technique is Mitch Lyons.   he lives in pennsylvania and has at least one video about how to do this. during the winter, he works in florida where i have seen him do this at a clay center in st petersburg.

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Mitch Lyons is the man. He uses a huge slab of clay. Paints slips and oxides on. Uses lots of texture. He prints on Tyvek. You can get Tyvek without the big "Tyvek" word across it. That would kind of ruin your print.

TJR.

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Yep. Mitch Lyons for clay monoprints. There are also some other techniques. I tried the transfer printing at an Amaco workshop where you lay images on plaster, front first on the bottom, then more til the final background. Then pour enough slip for a slab to tile and the image adheres to the  slab. 

I also use the photo transfer from CAD videos on Litho printing. I learned to be careful about getting the paper too wet.

 

Look up printing techniques on the CAD site ( get to it from the upper left harder on this page: ceramics Art Daily) 

Nice to hear from you.

 

Marcia

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Look up 'Blues, Plates, Prints and Paintings' on Youtube. It shows Paul Scott at Strathclyde Uni in Scotland demonstrating how to transfer images. He starts off with very simple methods, which is good if, like me, you're not very technical.

 

I saw some of his blue and white work at the V&A in London recently.....definitely not simple printing now! He wrote a book called Ceramics and Print, covering many different print methods.

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Someone showed me how to paint colored slip onto a fresh leaf and then quickly press the slipped leaf onto a leather hard pot. it worked well.   I don't remember much about the presentation but it seems making the transfer while the slip is wet mattered and using something less absorbent to paint the slip on might help.    rakuku

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Thanks for all the suggestions, lots to ponder. I have the Jason Bige Burnett DVD that Min mentioned - its a two disc set with the first one being primarily devoted to screen printing. The second disc has some useful hints for the transfer process - which I happily absorbed last night. For the screen printing he mixes the Amaco Velvet underglazes with a Speedball transparent base. This I assumed was to enhance the screen printing process but perhaps it might also contribute to the transfer to clay process. The background slip that he uses (and gives the recipe for) is also somewhat different than the one I use. Grasping at straws I'm going to make up a small batch of the Burnett slip and do a comparison run after sending off this missive. Also, I will order the Mitch Lyons DVD, the one I have doesn't address this current problem but has some fun ideas for handbuilding with use of dowels of gradually increasing sizes - have to get the monoprinting one to further my education. Reading up on Paul Scott's Blues, Paints and Paintings, recommended by Sallyd, will also be part of that continuing education. Hi Marcia, its always good to hear from you, I'll definitely look up CAD printing techniques.

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If you're using paper, you have to transfer before the ink is completely dry. For example, once you applied slip to the paper, you should transfer to the clay as soon as it's mat, not dry. And then indeed, the clay slab needs to be moist (again, mat to the eye, but still humid). Once you press the paper on the slab, you can use the back of a spoon to rub gently on the backside of your paper, it should help transferring the ink.
Question, why do you apply white slip both to the clay and the paper?

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Sorry, but perhaps I wasn't clear about my aims.  What I'm trying to do is transfer an image from paper to a clay slab so that the slab can be used to form a pot.  What Mitch Lyons is doing, re the Youtube clip that I watched, is transfer an image from a clay slab to paper - a very interesting image but not what I wanted.  Judith B. asked why I brush white slip onto both the clay and the paper, first because that's how Jason Bige Burnett does it and I'm obedient (sometimes), also I am using a brown clay and the use of slip on both recipient clay surface and donor paper surface offers to increase the probability of not getting brown bleed through.  That might actually make for a more lively background effect, something to explore later.  Thanks for all your input fellow potters.

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I haven't attempted this with clay but I have a bit of printmaking background.  I would try and simplify your process, maybe simply paint your underglaze onto the newsprint (cheap craftstore variety; not waxy smooth but has a bit of tooth to it) when it is nearly dry caerfully flip it onto your damp slab, place a few extra blankets (or a thick felt printmaking blanket) on top and run it thru the slab roller.  You will probably have to play with the pressure to get the transfer just right.  Please share the results of your experiments.

-Carolyn

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Thanks Nancy, that looks like just the DVD I need. The video clip I watched previously was different - now I'm back to my decision to order the DVD. Mitch Lyons has such a nice no-stress voice doesn't he? convinces one to relax and just do it! I have had better success in my efforts, transferring the underglaze image quite quickly while everything is still quite moist, tho not shiny. I did not remoisten the soft leather hard slab since it seemed counter intuitive, transfer from paper to clay slab not vice versa being the aim.

 

Next, I'll try to master the intricacies of sending photo images so that you can see my progress after all this good advice.

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