22 November 2010

Pouring a CFA or Portrait

I'm sharing my coating process.
These pieces, Sammich and Dark Days, were made for a Mr. Thompson in San Francisco. I had trouble with the coat, probably because I was taking hundred pictures during the process.
Note #1: Don't multi-task. In fact, don't do two at a time.
After printing the images onto vellum and cutting them to fit the frame I color the back of the images with a watercolor pencil, which tends to have a nice fade when it is placed on top of the first layer of epoxy. In these images, I used rubber cement to adhere the drawing to the frame. I've learned this is not the best solution because of the air bubble that results under the image. I recommend pouring a thin layer of the mixed Envirotex Lite onto the surface, letting that harden for a bit, say 20 minutes or so. Lay your drawing into that and press the bubbles out as you go. Let that sit for another while.
To pour a CFA you will need a lighter, a torch, two clean, disposable cups and a stick for stirring. Simultaneously pour the two bottles into your cup, making sure they are in positively equal amounts. Stir for two minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with your stir stick. Pour that into a second container and stir more to make sure it is properly mixed. After the mixing you pour a layer onto your drawing. Get the epoxy to cover the entire surface evenly. Make sure your table is level because the epoxy will move around and level itself over the next few minutes.
When you come back you will see bubbles. You want to pop these bubble with hot air. If you are working on a very tiny piece your breath is strong enough to do this. On larger pieces you get to use a torch.
Light your torch, keep it on a low setting and lightly sweep the fire across the surface being careful around the edges of the frame. It seems that every piece I send out has a burn mark or two. Be careful not to over-do this part.
This is your last chance to pour a smooth piece. You must pay attention to any falling dust that will end up stuck in the surface. In this time you must take your epoxy stirring stick and drop a little epoxy onto the dust, drowning it out until you see the surface is clear of dust, bubbles, etc.
Quickly, carefully cover your piece with a shoebox. I like to do another dust check in 5 minutes. After that, leave it alone for 24 hours. If in 24 hours, you come back to your piece and it's sticky or tacky, then your mix was imbalanced. Another coat will fix this.

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