Phyllis Seltzer's Electrostatic and Heat Transfer Printing Method

Phyllis Seltzer, Artist

Phyllis Seltzer Video

Download a 5 minute video portion from the DVD titled Phyllis Seltzer* by clicking on the image above (QuickTime .mov 5.3MB).

The electrostatic heat transfer process begins with a plate/painting (oil on linen) which is created specifically for the print. When the painting is complete, it is broken down into a grid that works well with the imagery and corresponds to the size of the 11"x17" heat transfer paper. Depending on its size and shape, the plate/painting can be broken down into any number of images. These electrostatic and heat transfer prints range from a single image to as many as fifteen images pieced together.

When the grid for the print has been established, the plate/painting is laid flat on the laser color copier and sheets of heat transfer paper are fed through the machine. Heat transfer paper is coated with an emulsion which absorbs and holds the colors via an electrically-charged field.

Once the heat transfer images have been made, they are trimmed and reassembled into a collage, either reproducing the image of the painting or creating a new image.

When the heat transfer sheets have been assembled and glued, they are turned image-side down onto the paper that will become the print. The paper used for prints is Lennox. The colors and the image of the print are factors in selecting the paper.

The colors and the image of the print are factors in selecting the paper as well as the size, for prints can be made of small dimensions as well as extremely large proportions e.g. 50" x 90".

After securing the heat transfer sheets to the paper with a tacking iron, they are placed in a heated press at approximately 375 degrees Farenheit. It takes about ten minutes for the emulsion to transfer onto the paper. When the process is complete, the heat transfer sheets are carefully peeled back. These sheets must be removed quickly and under heat. If there is a residual amount of the emulsion left on the print, this can be removed with a tacking iron and release paper after the print is completely removed from the press. Corrections can also be made with Prismacolor.

This method of printmaking has proven to be archivally stable. The prints can be exposed to sunlight - colors do not fade.
*Phyllis Seltzer: A TELOS Production, directed by Thomas Ball, music by Donald Erb, Copyright © 2000 TELOS Productions & Phyllis Seltzer.