Joss Paper Print

A friend gave me a fat package of Chinese  Joss paper for my birthday. I’m sure you’ve seen the paper before – it’s very popular with collage artists. This scan doesn’t show the wonderful shine of the gold in the center.

Joss paper

You know my first thought: oooh, what am I gonna print onto that!? In printing on any new surface there are a few things to figure out. First, is this stiff enough to go through my printer without a backing? If not, I’d tape it onto a sheet of typing paper. Second, will the quality of the print be good enough? If not, I’d treat the surface with an inkjet coating like inkAID or Golden Paint’s Digital Ground.

I always try the quickest and easiest way first, which is to send it through the printer without coating it, and without a backing sheet. Then the fun part, figuring out what kind of image will work on the surface. I chose this new photo-painting I did of a stunning ladyslipper orchid that George grew for me.

Ladyslipper orchidI slid the paper into the printer and crossed my fingers that it would be sturdy enough not to crumple up. Phew — it went through with no problem at all!

Joss paper ladyslipper orchid

I like the effect – the background really dropped out, leaving mostly just the flowers and the dark border. The quality of the print could be improved by coating it with inkAID or Digital Grounds, but I was surprised at how close the color is, and the fact that it’s not as sharp as the original doesn’t really matter for this image, I think. I shot a photo holding it sideways to catch more of the glimmer of the gold. The fact that the border of the image lined up almost exactly with the edge of the gold was a lucky accident. I estimated where to place it, but didn’t measure exactly – which I would do for a more planned-out piece.

Joss paper ladyslipper orchidThe package my friend gave me also has some sheets with silver in the middle, so I’ll try that next! What creative projects are you working on these days?

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