There are a few more steps, though, in re-creating Jill’s work. After we have the print in its final form, we need to seal the canvas so that the pigment inks from our printer are UV (and, to some extent, scratch) resistant.
Because we print on the excellent Lyve canvas from Breathing Color, we like to use their own coating, Glamour 2. This is not easy stuff to deal with. Each batch must be made from scratch, and the ‘recipe’ is a bit daunting, in that we custom balance the ratio of glossy to matte finish, as well as the proportion of water. To make things even more complicated, the water must be a particular temperature for optimum blending.
In the early days, as we were sorting out all the steps, we used rollers to apply the coating to the canvas. When this worked, it worked well. But sometimes it didn’t work, and we had drips and streaks. After a few months, we got a little smarter and started to use an HVLP (high volume, low pressure) sprayer. This has made a world of difference, since the coating almost always goes on very smooth and even.
We have been lucky to find a very reliable, sturdy stretcher bar system, Hahnemühle’s Gallerie Wrap Pro. These bars come in virtually any length (although, oddly enough, not 18 inches!). You simply choose your height and width, and pick the bars accordingly. You do need to print an extra couple inches all around the image for the part of the canvas that wraps across the frame, and then there’s a certain amount of finesse required to get the canvas stretched smoothly across the bars (we’ll write more about that a bit later).
So, yes, this process is quite a bit of work, much of it detailed and unforgiving of even small mistakes. But the result – well, we think Jill’s images look amazing, and we’re very glad for the chance to work with her on them!