Digitally print technologies and their relation to vitreous enamel on metal for the visual artist
Hoskins, S. and Turrell, E. C. (2006) Digitally print technologies and their relation to vitreous enamel on metal for the visual artist. Denver, Colorado, USA: NIP22: International Conference on Digital Printing Technologies. ISBN 0-89208-263-1
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The Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England has recently installed a large-scale kiln for firing enamel on metal panels used in public art projects. This has necessitated research into methods of transferring digital photographic imagery printed using vitreous enamel glaze onto steel and copper sheets. The panels have to be light fast, vandal proof and be able to withstand outdoor weather conditions for approximately thirty years. In order to obtain the best quality photographic rendition and to guarantee accurate registration large-scale decals have to be used. Two primary methods of transferring a digital image to a decal have been investigated to date. The investigation compares commercial electrostatic ceramic decals to a new screen printed decal system patented by the CFPR. The problem is a balance between ink deposition, photographic rendition, thermal shock effects and particle size and deposition. Microphotographs comparing decals before and after firing to ascertain strength of deposition, colour quality and ability to flux with the basecoat demonstrate the results. Some of the problems encountered will be discussed and examples of public art projects completed as a result of the study will be demonstrated.