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Pigment emulsion transfer to Stone paper

Writer and photography / Bonny Pierce Lhotka

An excerpt from Bonny Lhotka’s book Digital Alchemy on how to make pigment transfers.

IceBud: A Pigment Emulsion Transfer to Stone Paper by Bonny Pierce Lhotka ©2011

IceBud is from a series of photographs take after and ice storm. To print this work I developed a method of transferring images to papers that emulates the Polaroid emulsion transfer. I like the directness of the process and the ability to distort each image in a unique way. No two prints of an edition are ever alike although they are all pulled from the same digital file. I use a Nikon D700 with a telephoto lens for all my photography.

I use the DASS SuperSauce Concentrate to make the SuperSauce Solution that is used to move the image to the stone paper paper. The solution is made by adding 4 tablespoons of the concentrate to 16 ounces of 91% isopropyl alcohol.
Shake the mixture frequently and let it totally dissolve over night.

The first step is to prepare a digital photographic or artwork. It must be printed on DASS Transfer Film using pigment inks. I use the HP Z3200 with pigment inks but any desk top printer with pigment inks will work. The Epson 3880 is another printer that works well. After printing, the film must be allowed to dry over night so all the solvents in the ink evaporate.

The SuperSauce solution is spread on the surface of the imaged film.

I like to alter the edges of the image with a brush or other tool by dipping it in water to alter or wipe the ink. The altered print must be allowed to completely dry before it is transferred.

The wet film is flipped over and rolled down on the stone paper from one edge.

After 2-4 minutes the solution dissolves and encapsulates the coating on the film and the pigment, moving it to the paper surface.

Lift the film and remove.The film is lifted from the corners, twisting and turning it to create a floating emulsion skin. Any bubbles in the emulsion can be popped with a pin. After the image dries it is press tightly to the paper with a brayer.

Full details on the process can be found in Lhotka book Digital Alchemy: Printmaking techniques for fine art, photography, and mixed media.

Stone paper is a new material that is made from crushed limestone. It is environmentally friendly product. No water or chemicals are used to make the paper. It will degrade in a landfill when exposed to sunlight, heat and moisture.

Moisture will not pass through the paper, which is why it works so well for this process. The SuperSauce solution is trapped between the film and the paper so the alcohol cannot evaporate before the image is dissolved. This paper and DASS Transfer Film are sold by Digital Art Studio Seminars.

Bonny Lhotka is an internationally know artist and founding member of Digital Atelier®.
She is the author of Digital Alchemy: Printmaking techniques for fine art, photography, and mixed media, New Riders Voices that Matter and co-author of Digital Art Studio: Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials. Over the past decade, Bonny has continued her work as an experimental artist, inventing new processes, materials and technologies, and combining them with classic fine art materials and techniques. Aside from many one-artist exhibitions, she is in demand as a speaker, educator, author, and artist. Recently, she has worked with major corporations to explore fine art applications for their products. She is the recipient of the Smithsonian/Computerworld Technology in the Arts Award.
Her books and instructional DVDS are available at DigitalArtStudioSeminars.com

5 thoughts on “Pigment emulsion transfer to Stone paper

  1. Hello Bonnie:

    I have an epson 7600 with pigment ink. I saw your comments about the “pizza wheel” of some printers.
    Is the epson 7600 printer good enough?
    Thank you for your marvelous work!!!


  2. I like to print large images- 11×14 and 13×19 are their any good pigment based printers out there that don’t cost over $1,000? I have an Epson stylus large format printer but it uses dye based inks:-(

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