Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lamination Exploration

Work In Progress

I just returned from a trip to see an exhibition by California artist Mark Bradford. The show was at the Wexner Center for the Arts on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus. It was a fabulous show and I came home happy to have made the long trek.

Before leaving on the trip I began work on a new exploration. I had never tried lamination as presented in many books on the topic. Lamination is basically a transfer process that can leave all or part of an image attached to another piece of fabric, paper or substrate of some type. Mixed media often use this process and I have done this myself but never with fabric.

Acrylic painting on Masa Paper

I choose to make a painting rather than use photocopies, newspaper or pages from magazines. I used acrylic paint on Masa Paper. This paper is very soft and fuzzy on the face and slick on the back. It is a rather sturdy paper and may not of been the best choice as you will see. The painting was placed face up on my table and covered by polyester voil fabric. I painted a good coat of Liquitex Acrylic Matte Medium over the fabric so that it soaked through to the painting.

Face view of fabric laminated to painting.

As you can see in the above image, it did attach with lots of air pockets which is nice, however, I did not like the milky appearance of the fabric.

Another view of face of painting with lamination.

I flipped the piece over and found that I liked the back much better but it had a very thick layer of paper fuzz which needed to be scrubbed off.

The fuzz is very visible in this shot.

Back of work which is now the Front of the piece and the scour pad.

Scour pads, a stiff brush and lots of elbow grease were used to remove the unwanted paper residue. As I scrubbed, the paint layer that was not attached to the fabric because of air pockets came off. After you apply the Acrylic Medium you allow it to dry and then iron the piece. I had forgot to iron until I had started wetting and scrubbing the piece so I stopped, let it dry and ironed. I could see a big difference in the stability of the acrylic paint layer.


I really love the details of the acrylic surface. You can see that some of the paint layers have come off revealing the next paint layer.



The piece is now hanging on my design wall and I am contemplating the next step.


Nancy Natale is doing a series of artist profiles called The Questionnaire. You are invited to pop on over to her blog and read the one she has posted on me.

Thank you for visiting Studio 24-7 and I love hearing from YOU! Commenting is Free.


  1. Great interview Terry, andI love the paper lamination. I was first introduced to it by Benn and Morgan at the Crow Barn and have used it a few times in my work. I think it has so many possibilities, and your blog inspired me to get back to work on it. Thanks, Karen

  2. Gaa! I love this. My other friend, named, Karen, is also doing lamination. I would love to try this.

  3. Thank you Karen and Gerrie! I'm really excited about it as well and hope to finish the piece this week!

  4. The Mark Bradford show was almost too much for me to handle. (In a good way). I saw it in June.
    He is prolific and his work stopped me in my tracks. Glad you were able to drive up to see it.
    Worth the trip!
    I enjoy the lamination process, very new to me. Thanks for sharing, I can see why you like it. I think I'd like it too!

  5. Thank you for sharing your process Terry - it's very interesting and i'm looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

  6. Thank you Christine and Ian. I love the more physical process that this offers. I "discovered" some other things while doing this that I want to investigate as well and was blown away when I saw Bradford's work as it related. I'm having a wonderful time....can you tell?

  7. Terry, I am jealous that you're having so much fun. It's always inspiring following your explorations.

    I saw the fantastic Bradford's show in May squeezed in between two Barn workshops. It was just what I needed to shift out of my usual workday mode and loosen up. I've told all my friends it's a must-see when it comes to San Francisco in 2012.

  8. Hey Mad Elena! I appreciate your support! So happy to hear you saw the show. It's one of the best I've seen recently and I think it has given lots of people insights into their own process.

  9. Hi Terry,
    First off, thanks so much for participating in The Questionnaire and for providing such great answers. I really enjoyed putting your piece together even though I messed it up significantly. There has been quite a high readership of it, by the way.

    Secondly, this is an interesting process that you are writing about although I don't quite understand the intention you began with. I hope you won't mind my quizzing you on it in an effort to understand it better. I guess that the fabric you laminated onto the painting was semi-transparent but you liked the way the back looked better than the front because of the milky appearance. Is that right? Is the idea to leave the fabric attached to the painting rather than just making an impression of the painting on the fabric? That is, do you always use transparent fabric for the lamination? That's the part I don't understand because I am familiar with a sort of printing of the image onto another surface - whether paper, canvas or fabric. If you leave the fabric attached, doesn't that always obscure the painting? Thanks for explaining and sorry to bug you. I do like some of those details you showed - very cool!

  10. isn't Bradford something? I saw his work a couple of years ago at the big Carnegie International triennial at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. I thought it was the best stuff in the show but he had dropped off my radar screen until you mentioned him.

    I can see the parallels between his m.o. and your lamination. now all you need is his disk sander to make it easier to scrub the paper off the fabric!

  11. Hi Nancy! I sent you an email and then realized your question was sent from the comments so I'm going to now post part of my response.

    As you know, I have been on what has become an 18 month studio adventure trying many things to move my work ahead. The Lamination process is something that has enjoyed interest in the "quilt" world for a few years.

    For much of the work, people put the work together with images from magazines etc. and design the face but sometimes they scrape most of the paper off after it has been laminated to the fabric. The fabric is the "structure" and the lamination materials that are left are the image. People can then decide which is the "face" of the piece (the front or the back) because with the scrapped paper it is often up for grabs which looks best or most interesting.

    Your choice of fabric determines how milky the face appears. I had never done the process with fabric and the voil I purchased was all that the store had. I knew it was not very sheer but decided to try it anyway. Had I painted an image in darker values it might have worked and the painting would have been viewed through the fabric with bits and pieces of the painting removed when removing the paper substrate. This gives the painting a weathered look, but as it was, I didn't like the milky look. The image on the back was stronger and really more of interest to me so that is how I am proceeding.

    Interestingly, I am reading a book (slowly) entilted CHANCE ( I'll have to get back with you because I can't remember the author's name) which addresses how artists embrace this concept and work with process and random happenings. I felt that was exactly what happend in my lamination piece.

    I hope this helps and I'm happy that you asked.

  12. Yes Miss Kathy! The Bradford show was excellent. If was funny for me because I had just done the piece in this article as well as a couple others and layering and process are on my mind.

    I could enjoy digging into work with a disk sander or as someone else suggested, one of those Mr. Clean Magic sponges. Move over MB! ;-)

  13. Very interesting lamination process---thanks for sharing.

    I enjoyed reading your interview answers,too.

  14. Hi Paris Maddy! Thank you very much. I am still trying to finalize the piece. I have really worked it over or perhaps it has worked me over....we'll see.

  15. Terry, this is neat stuff you're doing here. It's fun to see you getting into mixed media and experimenting to make it work for you, with your own personal flair. Looking forward to reading more!

  16. Thank you Judi! I have the piece laying on my work table and just applied what I think will be the final layer. I'm pleased with the results and also surprised with how the process went. I hope to post the piece this week.

  17. I've been reading your blog for awhile. E Barton
    suggested we check out your blog when I took a class of hers this spring in Az. I have loved your work since discovering "the big red dog". It's fun to watch your experiments in surface techniques. I was excited to discover your QBL2 class in Auburn in Oct surrounding the opening of the Quilts=Art=Quilts exhibit which I'm thrilled to be in. I registered this morning and I can't wait to meet and work/play with you.
    Betty Hahn

  18. Hi Betty! Thank you for your wonderful comments and Congratulations on being part of QAQ. I look forward to meeting you and having you as part of my class. I am very excited about actually being able to see this show as I've been included several times but never able to attend. See you soon!!