09 May 2014

Mounting Art On Boards Part 3 of 3

This is the third in a three-post series about pasting works on paper to wooden boards for presentation. (Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.) Here are a few caveats to note before you try this:
- I'm pasting woodblock prints created using the Japanese method, called moku hanga or ukiyo-e.

- I use Guerra pigment dispersions rather than paint or ink. These are pure pigments suspended in water.
- If you use any other kind of ink, sumi ink, ink jet, etc., always test before you try this. There are no guarantees that this method will work for your type of ink.

Last night I noticed that the boards had warped a bit once they dried, so I  re-wet them and clamped them between two boards to see if I could get them to relax. When I opened them back up this morning, there was still a little bend on the long side. This is plywood, so I hadn't expected any warping, but I guess the washi is so strong that when it tightens during the drying it pulls the edges a bit. It's not a serious warp, but the perfectionist in me doesn't like it. It's possible that the first wrapping caused the warp and that I should have clamped them from the get-go. It's also possible that my makeshift clamping system wasn't adequate for the challenge. Next time I'll be prepared for that…

This morning I trimmed the excess paper from the boards I had pasted yesterday, another hair-raising adventure. I used a #11 X-Acto blade and of course I nicked some of the lining paper on the first one. A few tips if you try this at home:
- A steady hand is necessary, so ease up on the caffeine.
- Use magnification. I ended up using two pair of reading glasses, one on top of another. (No, I will not post a photo. I have my dignity.)
- Rest the tip of the knife against the edge of the board as close as you can while still avoiding cutting into the liner washi. This takes some trial and error, but once you've found the angle that works, keep your hand in that position all through the cut.
- Artist friend Iskra Johnson made a brilliant suggestion on Facebook: leave about 1/16 inch and then use a sanding block held straight against the panel edge to take it down. I'm a little afraid to try it on these, since my panel edges are also paper, but this would be great if I had primed the boards with gesso instead of washi.
- It should also be possible to lay a straight edge against the panel and make the cut, although you'll end up with an overhang the width of the straight edge.
- Go very slowly, and don't pick up the blade until you've cut the entire length.
These are just my quick off-the-cuff thoughts. You may very well have better ideas.

After I trimmed the two completed prints, I immediately put them into plastic bags to protect them. Although I love not having prints under glass, obviously the surfaces are fully exposed and extra care is required to keep them safe and clean.

Next I set up to paste the rest of the prints. The first went smoothly, with no bleeding and easy positioning. (Hannah's suggestion to dampen the wrapping on the panels before applying the pasted print seems to make positioning easier.) But I ran into a new problem as I pasted the next print. On some of these "Mixed Feelings" prints I had created the lighter font by cutting away the text, but on others I had used white pigment to print the text lighter on top of other pigments, and I discovered that the white pigment reconstituted when wet. It didn't wash away, but it could rub off or smear, so I had to be extremely careful as I softly brushed out the bubbles. I found that I could use a cover sheet and light baren pressure instead of the brush and avoid smearing. So here's another caution: some pigments stay in the paper just fine and some reconstitute when wet.

The top print above has no white ink, but the second and third do. Out of the nine prints, three include white ink.
The remaining prints are drying now, and hopefully I'll have no new glitches to report. Thanks for reading!


Elizabeth Busey said...

Thanks for documenting this process! I too am looking for solutions to the framing. And I so identified with the two set of readers solution! I have also worn a headlamp for extra illuminating.

Annie B said...

Glad you found these posts interesting, Elizabeth. Moku hanga printer Andrew Stone once posted a photo of himself wearing two sets of glasses, so I guess all the kids are doing it. Love your headlamp idea! I might steal it.

Melody Knight Leary said...

Annie, I bet if you coated the back of the boards it would counter act the warping. I know that when I'm building a collagraph on a heavy cardboard substrate or even a Masonite board, I always coat the back with gesso first so that when I glue materials to the front there won't be any warping.Could apply for your project as well.

Annie B said...

Melody, I'll bet you're right about that. Will try it next time. My clamping seemed to work better the second time, I think because I didn't wait as long to do it.

Andrew Stone said...

Nerve-wracking process to be experimenting with finished works...but I think they look wonderful. Thanks for posting your progress....it makes eventual experimentation for us a little easier.
Now you'll need to factor is the added labor, materials, shipping, etc. on pricing.
Hope you sell the set.

Annie B said...

Thank you, Andrew! It will be interesting to see how much the shipping costs. These will be much safer to ship than frames would be, but the package will probably weigh 25 pounds or so.

Eli Griggs said...

You might try putting a a sheet of the same paper on the back side, at the same time you do the front. If you're only doing a few for display, you can always recycle failed prints face down, where they won't be seen.

Or, you could go to thicker sheets of board.

Annie B said...

I think putting paper on the back is a great idea, Eli. Then I could just cut the paper away from the hanging slot after it dries.