Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dry ink

What would dry ink be?  Pigment?  This post is about screen printing using ceramic underglaze powders, through a screen - in this case a Riso screen 70# instead of a traditional silkscreen.  It is almost as messy as using wet materials PLUS you MUST wear a dust mask.  I normally mix dry underglaze or oxides with a printing gel medium into paste of syrupy consistency and squeegee it through the screen in the usual way.  Some people like to use honey as their medium but that attracts ants in my studio.  Steve Allen in San Franscisco screens dry materials sometimes on his incredible sculptural forms, something he demo'd at CAAWA's Potober in Perth in 2010.  What I like is the blendability factor that using dry materials allows.  You can use this method when screening directly onto a soft leather hard form (probably using the mesh unframed) or screening onto a slab of soft clay about to be draped over a mould.  All you need is a suitable Riso Screen (thermal printer screen), some underglaze powder and a bristle brush - the cheap oil painting kind.  I add a small amount of a fritt like 3124 to ensure it the colour bonds to the surface in the bisque firing or it could get messy, especially if you are planning on glazing the work. I find the powder colours by Walker Ceramics are especially bright and glowing.  Here we have the lightweight A4 sized Riso screen just lifted from leather hard clay tile below.  I think the screen looks prettier than the tile - but you get the idea.  I had just been showing students at Rockingham TAFE ceramics department how to do this.  My Thermal Printer is from Nehoc Australia, I use it for printing on paper, ceramics and textiles, infinitely useful - even  for T-shirts to order for my three teen sons. Every school should have a Nehoc Thermal Printer.   In Perth, Western Australia we can just pop into a Jacksons art store and ask for a screen to be made from our hi resolution black and white art.
Hey do you want to know more about what potters are getting up to look at Mud Colony where some chummy potters share their recent blog postings regularly.


  1. Is there any difference between the Ink Print Cartridges and dry ink and is there any way to use dry ink for Lexmark PLATINUM PRO905 branded printer.

  2. If the cartridges you refer to are used for inkjet printers, then I'd expect that to be wet and to contain nothing that'd survive a kiln firing. Dry ink really amounts to powder underglaze.