Canon Selphy Emulsion Lift Printmaking Workshop

Cotuit Center for the Arts March 26-28, 2021

Tue, April 06, 2021

Workshop description: In the 1940s, Polaroid patented the instant camera with self-developing film.  The Polaroid® image transfer process was accidently discovered by a technician who left a developed dye carrier (negative) facedown on a white surface. The (positive) print also could be shaped by soaking the print in hot water to separate the photographic coating from its base, floating and lifting the emulsion to a new substrate. The emulsion lift process can be duplicated using prints made with a Canon® Selphy CP 1300 Compact Photo Printer.

Four artists, Ellen, Emilie, Devorah, and Alice, joined the workshop. Each had individual backgrounds in photography, painting, or printmaking.

Day 1:  Students connected their iPhones (or other smartphones) via Wi-Fi to a Canon Selphy CP1300 printer. Emilie brought her own printer, but by the end of the workshop, two others had purchased printers! We edited photos and saved them to a Photo Album. Using an app called PicFrame, each of us created “image collages” within various frame templates.

Printed images were trimmed and placed in trays of hot water to soak overnight. The remainder of the day was spent using alcohol inks on *DAAS™ Optimized Yupo paper—blowing, dripping, brayering, and spritzing colors that seem to grow like bacteria in a petri dish! The dyed papers might be used as substrates the next day.

Day 2: When we arrived the next morning, all our soaked prints had released from their paper backings. *Yupo paper brushed with DAAS™ Universal Precoat II and dried—or sometimes wet—provided workable substrates for the emulsion films. Fan shaped brushes helped to lift and arrange the fragile “skins.”  Students overlapped films, mirror imagined, printed over alcohol inks, or dropped colors onto the damp skins.

In the afternoon we made monotypes with gold acrylic paint and practiced lifting magazine images from gelatin plates.

Day 3: Pushing the Process: Everyone got to work making larger presentations, combining media, collaging, painting, stamping, etc. I gave a DAAS™ transfer film demonstration using Purell® hand sanitizer to transfer photographic images onto mulberry paper and thin Hiromi tengucho paper.

A few days after the workshop, Alice is messing about with the emulsion lifts in little collage paintings. Devorah and Emilie ordered supplies and are looking forward to exploring. Ellen is considering having her work photographed and printed large. I’m making various sized gelatin plates for “jellygraphing” backgrounds—endless ways to push the process.