Here a some ideas I recieved, Keep them coming!!:
There are many papers and fabric impart interesting textures. Even
simple manilla folder gives a texture. These can be cut with xacto
knives to create detailed designs. Corduroy, the wrong side works
nicely. I often encourage my students to think of the rolling mill as
a tool to create compositions by texturing metal partially in layers,
not only for the over all patterning that is usually learned first.
There is no limit to what you can use for imprinting, but there are
two points of caution for protection of your rollers: Any time you
use something which is harder than silver, copper, or brass, always
make a sandwich with a protecting piece of bread for the roller.
Always clean your rollers at the end of the day without fail. This
can be done with a nylon scrubbing pad and a little machine oil…
even WD-40 will work.
The point about cleaning the rollers is that dissimilar metal
residues can set up an etching situation, particularly if there is
any moisture involved, even if it just in the air or your hands
(sweat). The rollers
can end up with pits and whether you like it or not, you’ll be
roller printing your metals each time with a pattern you don’t really
want. wink! The true worst offender is pickle… that works really
fast and it doesn’t take much… just a trace is enough.
Additionally, after using the rollers, open them slightly so there is
a slight gap between them. That will prevent any possible
contaminates from spreading out between them and etching a line there
while sitting idle if there is a long period between usage.
It is possible to use most anything that is dry to imprint. The art
stores have some interesting handmade papers with a myriad of
Whiskers from an electric shaver… whiskers from a cat. Of course,
anything you use, except thicker metal will be destroyed in the
process. Dryer lint sheets…(clean well afterwards)… dryer lint.
Dried spices… clean well. Lace bought at the thrift store, paper
doilies, crumpled paper, crumpled aluminum foil, ribbon all work
well. If you go to the art store, get some blotter paper or museum
board. They usually come in different thicknesses. I found they work
a lot easier than paper towels and there are cool impression on them
The hard stuff like etched metal, flat files, staples, coarse steel
wool, 3-M scouring pads, coarse sandpaper, all will work with a
protecting sheet and cleaning afterwards. There is some limitation
due to thickness and how far you can open the rollers. You may want
to check into using photopolymer letterpress printing plates. They
no chemicals for developing… just water.
A piece of index card or old file folder will be good to cut or
punch with different shapes for a pattern.
Etching metal can be pretty simple by use of laser images and a few
simple chemicals. A hard brass plate can be made that will work for
a lot of impressions if you don’t use any excessive pressure. Be sure
to use a piece of metal large enough to cover the entire “master” or
get impressions back onto the master from the edges of your silver
or copper… ruins it for larger sizes from then on.
You can also take a nail, punch, graver and make mechanical
impressions on a thick brass master plate… about 3/16". Even
hammered textures transfer well.
Buy brass stock from a copper supplier rather than further down the
chain… it will cost a lot less. They will cut it into lengths for
a small extra fee.