Printing the Pachyderm

Magnacrom Digital utilizes a Durst Rho 320R and handmade Amate bark paper for elephant images.

Big Picture

For Magnacrom Digital producing a beautiful fine-art elephant image brought a particularly interesting challenge: The client requested the artwork be output onto handmade Amate bark paper.

Made for hundreds of years by the Mexican Otomi Indian craftsmen, Amate bark paper begins as bark that is boiled and soaked overnight until soft enough for the fibers to separate. It’s then pounded with a rock until the pulp is evenly spread out into the shape the papermaker wants. The bark is then dried in the sun, on the same boards where it has been pounded and shaped; the color and grain of the final paper depends on the bark used.

“The first question which arose was how were we were going to feed the Amate sheet into our Durst Rho 320R roll-to-roll printer,” says Carlos Fernandez of Magnacrom. “This paper is very delicate and it can tear if too much tension is applied to it. Secondly, this sheet is not at all uniform – it has ridges along its surface which are even more pronounced at the borders.”

Magnacrom solved the problem in several ways, including the careful gluing of the Amate sheet to PET on both the load and unload sides. Color management was another issue, and Fernandez addressed this by asking for smaller, standard-sized Amate sheets in order to generate an ICC profile for this substrate.

Despite all the hurdles to overcome, the result for this project was spectacular. “We are moving towards being a more dynamic company and challenges like this are readily welcomed at Magnacrom Digital,” says Eloy Palacios, operations manager. “We are constantly looking for more innovative ways of attracting our customers’ interest.”

Magnacrom Digital

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