Chris Snedden

Preparing for the image transfer workshop with Chris Snedden.

Thank you for your interest in this workshop. My hope is that you find the techniques useful in your work and that you leave inspired! This is a participatory slip decorating workshop on producing and using image transfers. During the workshop we will explore various ways of printing, using slips, to create transfers for applying highly detailed imagery to your leather hard clay work. We will freehand draw making Mono-prints, block print using rubber stamps, and also create a custom photo silkscreen to print images with. We will discuss back painting with slips and under-glazes to add colour to your images, how to create depth in your surface using paper resists, and then apply what we have created to several leather hard pieces that you will bring to the studio for the workshop. There is a bit of preparation that you will need to do for this workshop and I will outline it below.

Some considerations when choosing images:

The only reason to go through this process, is to create images on your pieces that would otherwise be impossible for you to do in a timely way, or to create multiple images of the same thing. A singled out image is more effective as an element of design in your work. In other words… it is easier and offers you more possibilities in terms of design to produce slip transfers that will go in a number of designs, rather than just printing the whole of some preconceived design. Single images are more malleable in this way, and there is a lot more fun that one can have with them. An image of say… a frog could go in some water scene, or be used in a depiction of the “Frog Prince” story, or as a repeated frog image on the rim of a plate or something.

Also Images can be blown up, made smaller, and/or flipped to make the “frog” (or whatever) face this way or that. The photo silkscreening process we will use requires us to make a black and white transparency of the images we wish to use. Therefore, I need each participant to send me the images they wish to “burn” onto their screen (see specs below). If you want, I will convert the images you send me into high contrast black and whites, and convert them to custom made silkscreen for you and bring it to the workshop. If you want to practice doing this part yourself, any good image editing program can accomplish this, I use Photoshop, but there are many others. If you could arrange your black and white images on an 8.5”x 11” (letter sized) format, that would be great!

If you do choose to have me convert your images to black and white, I need to know the approximate size of the image that you will need, in order for you to get the best value for your materials fee. For example: An average mug would need an image of about 3” in height while a repeated image that will go around the rim of a plate will be much smaller. If you want to create say… a commemorative plate depicting some figure or other then you might want the image to be bigger in order for that image to be emphasized in the design. Remember: you can make them different sizes, flip them so they face different directions, whatever you want! Just remember that when the images are printed they will be in reverse. When the images are applied to the leather hard pieces they will be flipped again.

I realize some people are more savvy with computers than others, but this is the important bit to creating the silkscreen, and if you have even more than a passing interest in using this process for your work…. this is a good skill to have. Very important: I need those images at least two weeks before the workshop so that I have time to make your custom screen for you to use in the workshop! A materials fee of 60 dollars includes the custom made silkscreen with your custom images already burned onto it, ready to use, and a squeegee. I will demonstrate the process of making your own screens and what materials to buy, so that you can, after you print out a bunch of slip transfers with this screen, wash out the hardened photo-emulsion and re-burn the screen with new images at a later date. The nice thing about this is that you can print out a bunch of sheets of transfers and keep them for later use, wash the photo emulsion out of the screen and make other slip transfer prints using the same screen.

Just a note about the Materials fee: All of the materials for the silk-screening are readily available at any good art supply store. The Speedball screens I get are there as well as the photoemulsion kit and squeegees. Generally the screens retail for about 34 dollars and so does the photo emulsion kit, and then you have to burn your images onto the screen. Each kit is good for about 10 screens. The squeegees are 14 and change and the transparencies from Staples are almost 2 dollars each. It’s a pretty good deal for a custom made screen and if you plan your images right you can make tons of transfers that you can use.

Things to prepare for the workshop:

• a leather hard tile (about 6” x 6” is sufficient but any practical size or shape you want)

• at least 2 leather hard pots – 1 plate and one cylindrical object (vase, mug, etc.)

• send me the images for your transparency – maximum 5 images at least 150dpi or

higher, 300dpi is best. JPEG or TIFF format please.

Note: the dots per square inch or “dpi” is important! Your images should be high resolution!

Example: if I pluck some image off of the internet, usually those images are about 72 dpi, or relatively low resolution. Computer programming people do this so that the images on your computer will load up faster, email faster, etc. When I blow those low resolution images up they look as though they are made up of all sorts of little squares and the edges are rough. So the resolution of the images you send determines my ability to give you nice crisp clear detailed images to use on your work.

Things to bring along with you to the workshop (if you have them):

• Your pots

• Brushes

• Slips (I’ll bring a bunch of slips with me based on Robin Hopper’s recipe)

• Underglazes

• Trailers

• a metal spoon

• rubber ribs (I like the yellow mud tools one, but any kind will do)

• Scraper

• Scissors

• A fine grained sponge (upholstery sponge works well)

• a towel

• Rubber stamps ( the red rubber ones work best)• scraffito tool or carving tool

• anything else you can think of to use for slip decorating!

If you have any questions or when you are ready to send me your images, contact me at:

Again, thank you for your interest in this workshop and if I can help in any way to make it successful for you please don’t hesitate to contact me!