When my husband had to go to Pasadena on a business trip, I decided to tag along. While he’s been working, I have been attending this workshop offered at the Xiem Clay Center. This is a workshop for those who want to learn printmaking onto clay. It is a very simple process, but the hard part is having the right equipment.
For example, you have to have a photocopier which will allow you to hit the off button mid-print, then the top has to be lifted out and the paper removed from the belly of the copier. This is so that the iron oxide ink does not become set into the paper. You want it to be messy, to rub off easily, because when you put that paper face down onto the clay, you want it to come off.
Do you remember those ink tattoos that come out of gumball machines? As a kid, I remember wetting down the back of my hand and putting one on, rubbing it, lifting it off and having a cartoon character becoming a part of me for the next 12 or so hours. That’s what this process is like. EXCEPT this ink won’t wear off anytime soon because it is iron oxide from the laser photocopier and can be fired up to cone 10.
The above photo is a simple slab which has been lightly coated with colored slip and then ‘tattooed’ with a photocopy I made of a pattern I found in a book. Most workshop participants,however, brought photographs, photocopied those and used those with stunning results! The possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to get home and experiment — except I don’t have a laser photocopier. HOWEVER … the second process we learned was how to print onto a type of paper named Pronto-Plate (here’s a link to learn more about that: http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/staff/okinczyc/pdf/prnto_ht.pdf ) … I do have a laser printer and I can do that process. And for those who do not have laser printers, you can also use simple Sharpie markers on the proto-plate with excellent results.
I am excited about printing onto clay and can’t wait to get home and experiment more with this particular process. We also all learned how to make our own ceramic ink.