In The Artroom


Hello everyone, I am experimenting with PHOTOLITHOGRAPHY today, It is basically transferring images onto leather hard and clay surface. For example a tile or a mug. The surface of the clay should be smoothed for the image to appear with a clear definition. If you want image to appear textury then you can use a damp sponge. If you want your image to appear with more clear definition then you should keep Squeegee handy.
Photolithography is done by using a black and white Xerox copy of an image, MASON STAIN, GUM ARABIC and LINSEED OIL.
Mason stain is a colorant that can be used to color glazes, slips, and clay bodies. I purchase the stains from Portland Pottery  There are so many great colors but I would keep it limited to couple stains in the classroom. Gum arabic from dickblick. Linseed oil from dickblick.

For this activity I would group few tables together, cover over the tables with plastic, and form two different stations. One for staining the image and the other one is to wash out the stain.

This is a great activity for high school students because students can use their own personal images, selfies, their own work of art.  Or they can work collaboratively on a theme. Students can Create logos and transfer them on mugs. We can print pet pictures on them and sell them to fundraise for ASPCA. So many opportunities.

There are many ways to transfer images onto clay, but for this activity photographs, maps, documents, or logos are Xeroxed, reversed, blown up or made smaller before being treated with gum arabic and mason stain. Then the treated paper is laid on top of the the clay (tile, mug..etc). I used the back side of a spoon as a baren to transfer the image.

Ink(Mason stain and linseed oil mixture in small containers with lids)
Mason stain Portland Pottery
Gum arabic dickblick.
Linseed oil dickblick.
Small containers for water
plexiglass to roll the ink
Leather hard clay work
Plastic to cover the tables
Papertowel or cleaning cloth

                                          Process Of Photo Lithography

It takes few trials to transfer the image smoothly onto the surface of the clay. So don't rush through the process. Have extra copies of your image handy just in case something goes wrong.

Step One: Make the Ink, Xerox your image, Roll out the clay slab or leather hard mug
In a small container add 3 parts linseed oil to 2 parts mason stain – stir for about 10-15mins.
Let mixture stand overnight for best results. I would use few small containers with tight lids to mix it. that way its easier to keep them sealed when its not being used used.

Step two: Roll out the slab and let it sit until its leather hard.
On a table place 2 pieces of plexiglass (0r anything available such as glass) – one to treat the image on and the second one is to roll the ink on with brayer on with a brayer.
2 sponges
2 small containers. Fill one with plain water.  Fill the second one with water and put a small drop of gum arabic in it.
Have on hand premixed INK(mason stain and linseed oil), brayer, paper towels, spoon to carry the ink from ots container onto the rolling glass, photocopied images, and leather hard clay slab.

Step three:
Place about a tablespoon of GUM ARABIC onto the plexiglass set out for the image AND onto the other piece of glass put a line of INK with a spoon. Smooth out the Gum Arabic over the glass with a brush until you have covered the glass in the same approximate area of your image.
Now place the image FACEUP on the glass over the gum arabic. With your fingertips (remember your rubber gloves) gently smooth the gum arabic over top of the image until an even layer all over is applied. With a sponge remove the excess gum arabic from around the image and the glass. Now leave the image on the glass as it is and then

Place the brayer over the ink you you put on your rolling glass earlier and roll in one direction until the brayer has an even coat of Ink. Now carefully roll the brayer onto the image until an even coat is on top of the image. Take the wet sponge from the container of WATER AND GUM ARABIC and squeeze the water over the image – do not touch the image with the sponge – this is called the WASHOUT STAGE. Now RINS the image out with the PLAIN WATER by using a sponge. Lightly sponge up the excess water from the image and pat dry over top of the image in the white areas of the paper – leaving the darkened areas as much as possible.

DO NOT rub the image as the wet paper will tear – GENTLY pat dry.

Step four: REPEAT Inking, Gum Arabic water wash, plain water wash, pat dry with a clean sponge. Cleanup the area around the image with a paper towel. You should ink and wash out and pat dry – three times.

Step five: Getly pick your image up from its two corners and place image face down onto clay slab.
This is the most difficult part as you must be careful not to rip the wet paper. With your fingers or a tool pull up the corner of the image. You only have one chance at this so be careful when placing the image onto the clay. center it carefully. I use a larger slab and try to place the image on the center of the clay and cut out or shape the rest. It is also important that the surface of your clay slab is smooth for best results as a clay slab with marks or dents will affect your image transfer. Once the image has been placed onto the clay pat down with a clean damp sponge – being careful that the paper does not move on the clay and smudge the ink image. Gently pat removing air bubbles  in between and making sure it has adhered to the clay. With the back of a spoon burnish over the entire area of the image. Once the burnishing is complete you can pull up a corner to see how well your image is transferred – if it needs more burnishing place the corner back down and burnish over the area again. this might take 15-20 min. Remove the paper in an upward movement – The paper image must be removed prior to firing in the kiln. I have also noticed the longer the paper is left to dry on the clay it adheres making it difficult to remove leaving behind paper bits. If this occurs try to remove the paper bits from the surface of the clay as much as possible but only leave to dry approximately 20 minutes for best results before burnishing.

I have used a picture of my mom, brother and I. I am 3or 4 years old in the picture. Here its before and after its fired.

             Marble Paper, Ebru Sanati or Suminagashi

In West its called Marble paper, in Japan its called Suminagashi, in eastern cultures such as Turkey its called Ebru Sanati. These cultures might use different materials and processes, but it is simply done by floating colored ink on a non-toxic solution.

This activity does nor requires pre-sketching, because the process allows you to create spontaneous and abstract compositions. Students will also learn about how abstraction can be perceived in many ways.

I have had students from 2nd.-12 grade doing this activity and they all love to play with the flooding colors. Through this lesson, students learn balance, movement, color coordination and the history of this technique.

The marbled papers can be displayed as a final product. I encourage my students to think that the art product can always be transformed into another art form. One great thing about this activity is that you can create a lot of work in a short period of time, so after students decide which one of them is their masterpiece, rest of the marled paper can be used as a background for another artwork, student can make collage by cutting and creating compositions with the pieces, these papers can also be used in making of personal journals and so on.

Materials: Carrageenan (Powdered Seaweed that thickness the water so the paint can float on it.) mixed at 2.5 Tablespoons per Gallon of water in the high-speed blender. Let it sit overnight.
Trays that are big enough for the papers to load on the water.
Small sticks such as a toothpick to move the paint around.
Marbling paint (from dickblick or you can use watered down acrylic paint)
Droppers to put the paint in. (You don't need a ton of paint just a couple of drops of paint is enough to work with)
Plastic to cover the tables.


Processes:Before students arrive, I set up workstations according to the student body and have students form groups. (2 groups and 2 stations are manageable.) I set up another table with plastic so students can take their finished project and lay it on the table under their names.

I talk about the materials and about the technique. They are all interested and can't wait o see how does the paint float on the liquid. I show them how to gently use the droppers. Because, If you squish it fast, the paint might just sink to the bottom of the tray, so gentle couple drops are perfect to get you started. Also, demonstrate how to use the toothpicks or small dowels to move the paint around, I make sure to tell them to not to stir the water too hard because the paint can turn muddy. So gentle movement of the sticks will create amazing results. I show them how to gently put the paper in the, don't press it all the way down under the liquid, the paper has to load for a couple of seconds on the surface. 3…2…1.. hold the paper gently from two corners and take it to the display table, gently press sponge to absorb the access liquid and let it dry.  

I am not getting into many details here, but teacher demonstration, safety rules, respect to each other while working in groups, and following the instructions are necessary to talk about before students get started.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...