Every once in a while I read something about a technique to print a slip or underglaze design from a laser print. You know the one, where the toner behaves like a resist? Sorta looks impossible. Every once in a while I try to figure it out. This time I think I succeeded! Even though the tutorial is available from lots of people who are better at this than I am, I wanted to post it to mention the tricky spots, and what to do about them.
Here's what you need:
- A laser print. Not a photocopy, not an inkjet print. Make it stark black & white - no gray tones
- Slightly thin underglaze or slip. The thinner it is, the better it will roll away from the toner as, but also the fainter the design will be. This will take some monkeying around with, to get it right.
- A soft brush. Very soft. A stiffer brush seems to press the slip to the paper too hard.
- An early-leatherhard piece.
- A rubber rib, the really bendy kind
- A throwing sponge
- A spritz bottle of water. Very important! Release will be blotchy without it.
Here's what you do:
- Brush your slip or underglaze onto the printed side of teh paper. One coat only; once the paper is wet, the resist doesn't work as well. Watch the slip roll away from the black areas. If a few spots are recalcitrant, you can blow on them really hard to encourage the slip to move. If the resist doesn't happen, your slip may be too thick.
- Let the slip get bone-dry.
- Cut into the shape of the print you want to make.
- Spritz the surface of the piece so there's a thin sheen of water. Place the paper facedown on the wet surface
- Spritz the back of the paper. Press repeatedly with a wet sponge. You'll begin to see the image showing through the paper. If there are areas where the image doesn't show, press the we sponge in those spots until it does.
- Using the rubber rib, smooth the paper to the clay to encourage the transfer.
- Peel up the paper. Voilet! or whatever. Image transferred. Mine is still a little blotchy - I'll clean it up with a sgraffito tool later. I think with some practice I can get a cleaner image.