One of the things I get asked the most is simply, “How do you DO that?” A lot of people think it’s an etching process, or a heated transfer. In all reality, my process is neither. Developed over years of trial and error, my process is entirely unique to my work.
Everything about my work is handcrafted in my studio and local. Those two things are so important to me, being part of my community and sharing its resources makes my heart beat faster. So, while I can’t give away ALL my trade secrets, I wanted to give you a little glimpse into what it’s like for me to take a piece from start to finish.
First, I choose a photograph I’ve taken (or upload yours if we’re doing a custom piece together) and edit it minimally in LightRoom, then print it in reverse on 100% recycled paper.
Transferring it to the metal is all done by hand, with an all natural binding agent, with no heat or etching involved. This process is very precise and it’s important that I am fully focused on the task at hand when I’m transferring the image.
One of my favorite things about this part of the process is how instinctual it is for me. I know the feel of the paper on the metal with the binding agent, I know the importance of getting it smooth and flat, and I can feel all that with my hands. It’s the kind of process a machine could never replicate, and I absolutely love that.
Then, 3 days later, when the binding agent has done its magic and married with the toner to transfer the image (the lack of control here is really exhilarating for me and is a big part of the reason no two pieces will ever be the same), I get to work with my wonderful craftsman of a husband to create the wood mount for the piece. This involves sanding (so much fun!), staining, sanding again (still fun!), washing the metal to remove the paper and reveal the image.
Washing, revealing the image, is my perfect reminder that this is art and I am an artist. Then I finish it up with a few final steps and the piece is ready for sale or delivery.