Sloppy Borders and Mounting

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Ross Chambers, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    I searched APUG and found ways to minimise sloppy borders on hand coated paper before printing (in my case cyanotype).

    I used to tape the coating area off with low tack masking tape, but I found that this often led to uneven coating. Without the masking tape my coating is much more even.

    However the borders are really straggly and unpredictable, which is not a problem if it's assumed that the mat will cover them up, but that feels like I'm concealing sloppiness.

    I'm wondering about trimming the prints and float mounting them, which may produce problems with the paper buckling at some future time.

    I'm not keen on the "brush mark" look (nor the brush technique), the prints are 5x7" on 8x10" 300gm watercolour paper.

    What do you folk do?

    Regards - Ross
     
  2. David William White

    David William White Member

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    I place a spare windowed mat over my paper and coat by brush within the window. There can be a bit of bleed underneath, but at least I know when matted, I've got full coverage. Other times I coat the whole sheet edge to edge & inspect before I print.

    If cyanotype, you could also consider floating the paper in solution, because it's cheap. (You fold the edges up sort of into a boat shape so the backside stays clean).
     
  3. Lyn Arnold

    Lyn Arnold Subscriber

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    I also use a spare windowed matte but with paddle-pop sticks glued to the underside so that the matte is raised above the paper. This works quite well with brush or foam brush, but not if you are using a glass rod to coat.
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    One thing you can do in addition to or instead of masking with the tape before coating is to mask with rubylith film during exposure. This will make any areas of coating under the rubylith get no exposure and thus clear away when fixing/washing your print. However, this sometimes leads to blotchy areas where you coated but did not expose. This will vary based on the paper, the process used, and a number of other conditions, so test it to see what you think of it.
     
  5. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    I'm with Flying Camera. In fact, this is a good test of your processing procedures and paper compatibility. If you see color change in coated but unexposed areas, then that's a good indication for the fact that you have to change something in your system. (Most probably the paper...) I don't have problems with Cyanotype (both trad. formula and the new) and painters tape BTW. (As long as the paper is strong and has a good sizing; thin and/or fibrous/nappy paper won't work with painters tape...)

    Regards,
    Loris.
     
  6. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    Thanks, I'll need to attempt to find a source for rubylith and try it. Sometimes it seems that everything ever made can be found in the USA, not always so simple in Oz.

    Regards - Ross
     
  7. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Ross if you still have old style printing houses in Australia (like we do here in Turkey - I'm talking the ones that still use film and imagesetters, new technology allows direct exposure of printing plates w/o using film...) you can ask one to give you scrap pieces of fully exposed imagesetter film (density something like log 4.0 - 5.0). You'll need 4 strips (width = about 1/2 - 1"), two long and two short, sized according to your printing frame's borders. You can tape those strips forming a window sized exactly to your image. You can adapt it to whatever image size you need. Imagesetter film is thin so it won't hurt sharpness in case you opt to place it closer to the emulsion - for sharper borders.

    Hope this helps,
    Loris.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2009
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Ross- art supply stores here in the US still carry the stuff, even though its primary use was in pre-digital layout and printing processes. On your next trip in to Sydney, look for it in the big art supply houses, maybe around the universities. It is fairly inexpensive. Failing that, if you can't find actual rubylith, get some thin opaque mylar sheets.
     
  9. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I leave my brushed borders and don't worry about it. I consider it an artifact of the process. Some patrons (seems like many these days) really like the brushed borders, and float mount the whole piece to show the borders, deckeled paper edge and all, others mat to the image. I leave it to the purchasers preference. Personally, I think matting over the brushed edge is simply a display preference, and a clean edge that's matted over is just the same as the brushed one, so I'd rather leave the option. The money spends the same.
     
  10. Don12x20

    Don12x20 Member

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    I personally prefer the look that Dick Arentz uses on his pt/pd prints -- clean white borders. I use rubylith.

    Last month when I went to the local supplier to get some rubylith, they indicated that their supplier for rubylith and amberlith was out of business -- and they had no substitute supplier available. Seems that the usage from print shops had completely stopped, and the volume from the "hobbyists"(that's those of us doing alt process, no one else) was too small to sustain the business.

    Fortunately they were able to find 63 sheets at various shops.

    If I were you, and you find some rubylith, I'd pick up what you need now.

    And if anyone hears of a new supplier, or even an old one (not Ulano), let us know....
     
  11. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    I tried the art supply shop with the widest range in Sydney today; the young lady on the counter hadn't heard of it, the English guy in the office knew what I meant, but strongly doubted its availability. As "Flying Camera" says, it's just an opaque barrier, I can make that.

    BTW this shop found what may have been the locally available last sheets of Arches Platine for me a while ago.

    Regards - Ross
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I have never had problems coating watercolor paper evenly right to the edge using a hake brush. I just put down some plastic and "paint" over the edges as if they were not there.

    For mounting, I tack dry mount tissue to the back, then trim the print to the desired size with its attached tissue using a rolling cutter. Then it is ready for dry mounting to whatever compatible surface that you choose.

    I have done cyanotype and van dyke brown this way.
     
  13. Lyn Arnold

    Lyn Arnold Subscriber

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    Ross, I have found some at Graphic Art Mart in Loyalty Rd, North Rocks. Their telephone number is 0288430299. I have not yet collected it so can't say definitely that it is the real thing.
    They supply it in two widths - 610mm and 1220mm.
     
  14. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    Thanks Lyn,

    Sometimes I wonder whether half the joy of obscure processes it the detective work involved in tracking down materials, you are promoted to Detective Sergeant (Alternative).

    Regards - Ross
     
  15. Lyn Arnold

    Lyn Arnold Subscriber

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    Thank you sir!
     
  16. Ironage

    Ironage Member

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    I use a water color block and coat each sheet, then tare it from the block to let it dry. This way you are able to coat the paper without a boarder. Dick Blick sells Fabriano Artistico in 5x7 blocks.
     
  17. adamc

    adamc Member

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    Does the matieral have to be ruibylith, necessarily? Couldn't one use any thin opaque matieral?
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    you could use any thin opaque material. Rubylith is/was popular because it is visually transparent which is helpful when you're trying to cut a complicated mask, but opaque to UV light. Graphic arts shops used UV light sources much like the ones people use today for alt process printing. Since most of us are using this stuff to mask simple rectanglular shapes, any truly opaque material will suffice.
     
  19. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Concealing it from whom? Non-practitioners don't care (and many like seeing these "art marks") and those who practice the process understand.

    I mat to cover the borders, but have slight borders so I can utilize printed registration marks on my digital negatives for multi-layer processes. I don't mat to show the border marks because they are an affectation that adds nothing but distraction to my image (much like sloppy 35mm borders), imo.

    Coating the entire sheet may be an option now with cheaper processes like cyanotype (such as you're printing now), but this becomes a very wasteful practice if you move into the noble metals (like pt/pd).

    Not even worrying about the borders also lets me focus on making more and better prints as opposed to obsessing over minutiae. Then again, I probably print more and more often than others and under deadlines so I lean towards streamlining the process where I can.
     
  20. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    I'm not using a brush, seems more important to get better with a glass rod before I resume salt printing and incur the silver nitrate costs. (The nobility of pt/pd is way beyond my budget)

    Hake brush and painters' low tack tape is no problem, but this setup gets in the way of glass rod coating.

    I like the look of a key line plus border plus mat which i would use with conventional paper. Sort of a double mat.

    I referred to "floating" the print and meant float mounting i.e. trimming and placing the print in the middle of a mat with the board behind it showing. I wonder if anyone may have tried this? Best archival adhesives?

    (not quite like an example I saw at one of the more trendy galleries in Sydney, where the fibre based prints were stuck on a bit of board and left to curl at their own rate)

    Regrds - Ross
     
  21. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I agree completely, though I have seen a few prints where having the exposed brush marks added to the presentation of the image, though by and large I don't think it's very effective and distracts from the actual image most of the time. IOW, showing coating marks should be the result of artistic intent and not a by product of the process intended to shout to the viewer, "Hey look at me, I'm a hand coated print."

    John Dugdale's work comes to mind regarding this topic. His exhibits of cyanotypes are wonderful but there are no non image areas of the print shown when hung and they are very effective. Arentz is another.

    When I contact print sheet film, for some series I like to show the entire rebate surrounded by a DMAX border - but no brush or coating marks. I have seen some printers worry and fret over making their brush marks look artistic to the point they forget about the actual image. Weird!

    Don Bryant
     
  22. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I'll print on vellum, cut it down to size, drymount this to a piece of watercolor paper and then wax it.

    http://www.anonymousvernacular.com/2009/05/16/ptpd-on-vellum/
     
  23. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I trim the edges of gum prints, dry mount them to high quality art paper and then over matt to show a white border around the gum print. The presentation looks very nice. I should probably wax them too. And oh BTW, I use Stonehenge Rising for the mount paper like Jeremy mentions in his write up.
     
  24. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    That is what I do with silver gelatin prints (using mount tissue). IMO, a very clean looking presentation.

    I start coating with a rod (Puddle Pusher), and finish off with a brush. The rod easily disperses the liquid and defines the print area -- I find the brush does a nice job of finishing the process. So I very little, if none, brush marks. -- just a solid black border, which I show about 3/16" around the print when mounting.

    Vaughn
     
  25. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    Thanks Jeremy, Don, Vaughan,
    I tried a mock up this way with a dud print and it looks pretty good. A useful end for those experimental papers which didn't quite work too. The cold pressed textured ones look nice as backgrounds.

    It seems to be true that Arches Platino works well, but it's hens' teeth in Oz; I'm still trying for a paper that works and is always on the suppliers' shelves (not Arches Watercolour, which is easily obtained here, it curls too much. I haven't tried Arches Aquarelle yet)

    Regards - Ross