Monday, February 21, 2011

Materials Matter

Since I didn't go to art school, for a long time it didn't occur to me that the result of making art work - with paints, dyes, or inks - was heavily dependent on the surface to which it was applied. Painting on watercolor paper certainly gives a different result from painting on canvas, right? The same holds true with printing on fabric using an ink jet printer. Over the years I've printed my digital collages on a variety of fabrics, both pretreated and ones I've treated myself with Bubble Jet Set. One thing I haven't been afraid to do is experiment. New products come out all the time, and occasionally old ones fall by the way side.

I recently tried printing on two new-to-me fabrics in this spirit of experimentation. The photo below shows two print outs of the same kaleidoscope (created using Kaleidoscope Kreator), printed using the exact same settings, on different brands pretreated silk fabrics.

It's pretty obvious that I'd choose the right hand fabric, Jacquard Fabrisign II, over the left hand fabric. That said, I have a pigment ink printer (an Epson 2200), and that fabric clearly works better for me with my printer. However, a different ink formulation might work better on the left hand fabric. The lesson? Don't be afraid to experiment! Better to test out several small samples on a few types of fabric than to get started on a big project and end up with disappointing results. And remember, experimenting can be fun! I can always screen print over less than optimum prints, or use them as a background for something. I wish you happy printing!

1 comment:

Vivika said...

Good point... it is always the best to use the right tools (and materials) for the job. The results prove it!