By Cassandra Balentine
Canvas provides a durable and versatile medium for digitally printed output. From photography to fine art prints, print providers are well versed in how to make canvas work stand out.
Cape Ann Giclée is a print provider located in coastal New England. Established in 2009 and staffed by hus-band and wife team, Anna Eves, co-owner, marketing and procurement, and James Eves, co-owner, master printer, and color management specialist.
The company opened when the married owners knew they wanted to work together. “James was and still is a high-end commercial retoucher, color management specialist, product photographer, and consultant for corpo-rations and advertising agencies,” shares Anna Eves. She explains that in addition to being a classically trained fine artist, he spent his professional life in print shops and advertising agencies, while her background was in-surance.
Their endeavor started originally under the name DigiPix.Us, a business that offered photo effects like PopArt. Eves says the website is still up and active, but it’s not the primary focus today. “We were farming out printing and were unhappy with the quality,” she recalls. This pushed them to purchase their own printer, an Epson Sty-lus Pro 9900. The advantages of living in an artistic community with a strong background in fine arts, printing, and color management came to fruition. Cape Ann Giclée started advertising its services, finding there was in-deed a need for high-quality archival inkjet printing.
The couple moved to its current location in Gloucester, MA about five years ago—a 1,600 foot facility. They specialize in archival inkjet printing and offer printing on canvas, photo paper, fine art paper, metal, acrylic, and other aqueous compatible media.
A majority of its work comes from the metro Boston and North Shore areas of MA, but it also services clients nationwide, which is easy with its online ordering setup.
Eves estimates that 80 percent of its work is considered wide format—over 24 inches in width, and about 60 percent of that is done on canvas.
She says canvas is a great medium for art reproductions in any size as well as photo prints; however it does have a sweet spot. “When you want to go big with a photo print over 24 inches, canvas is a great economical choice because no framing is required. You can hang the stretched canvas on the wall as is.”
Cape Ann Giclée sees canvas as a popular choice among both residential and commercial settings, as it uses canvas for artist reproductions, family photos, photography, and businesses looking for office décor. It has also done a lot of canvas work for restaurant displays.
Canvas is ideal for all of these applications because of its durability. The print provider also uses a UV coating for added protection. It allows for custom sizing that fits any space.
The shop hand stretches all of its canvases using a gallery wrap method and staples—never glue. “By using real artist stretcher bars we can make any custom size and are not limited to kit sizes,” explains Eves. She adds that there are even different stretcher bars for different applications. For example, the company once printed a 36×84-inch print on canvas that hangs over an open kitchen in a restaurant—where heat and humidity is a chal-lenge. “We used aluminum-enforced bars since they would not shrink or expand like plain wood.”
For its work, Cape Ann Giclée relies on Epson printers, including the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 and Epson Sure-Color P9000. For finishing, it operates a Titan laminator from GBC, a division of ACCO Brands and 24-inch dry mount heat press.
The Epson SureColor P9000 offers 11 inks, allowing the shop to work within a broad color space. These inks receive high ratings from the Wilhelm Imaging Research Institute, which is an added benefit. “We were printing on the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 prior to the SureColor P9000 and find that Epson printers are reliable and the col-or cannot be beat. Because James has so much experience in print shops, he knows how to maintain our print-ers and get the most out of them,” she shares.
The shop ran its older printer, the Epson Stylus Pro 9900, for eight years without any downtime for repairs.
For scanning it employs an Epson Expression 12000XL Pro scanner and a digital camera back for image cap-ture.
In terms of media used, the shop uses an archival premium canvas that does not crack or peel. “We know a lot of our competitors have cracking and peeling issues because we see it out in the world and we hear it from their former customers. We briefly had that challenge as well but it was unacceptable so we solved it. Our canvas does not peel or crack—even at the edges or corners. We have come up with a special sauce to prevent it. When people ask us how to solve the cracking and peeling problem the answer is simply to print with us,” says Eves.
For wide format canvas work, Cape Ann Giclée typically begins with an image evaluation of the supplied files. Most clients aren’t sure how big the images can go before they start to rasterize or become distorted, so that is the first step.
The next part in the process is determining how big they want to go. “In some cases we will make a site visit to help,” offers Eves. In other cases, the customer provides the dimensions of the area and the shop creates a layout to show them how it will look with the images they have selected. This can also be used as a tool when hanging the canvases.
Once all the necessary information is collected, the job is printed if all materials are in stock. Sometimes special supplies like aluminum reinforced bars or custom sizes need to be ordered.
Eves says she likes to let canvas outgas for 24 hours after printing, and then adds two to three layers of var-nish. This takes at least eight hours of dry time between each coat. The canvas is then stretched onto premium bars and hanging hardware is determined by customer preference and the size of the job. For large canvases, heavy-duty D rings at the top work well and beehive hangers make hanging canvases easier to hang. Installa-tion is generally handled by the customer.
The company once worked with an interior designer who used printed canvas as wallpaper, and sometimes ceiling paper in a mansion she was redecorating. She had artists embellish on top of what was printing.
Another interesting job was for a restaurant that had a large wall space and always featured small 16×20-inch prints on it. “When they had a client of ours hang his work, we convinced them to go big and it turned out great. The larger 36×36-inch canvases filled the wall in nicely and made a real statement. We enjoy helping our clients figure these things out and ensure they are happy with the end result,” admits Eves.
On the Horizon
With its core markets well served, the company is always looking for unique offerings to add to its portfolio.
Eves shares that it is currently working with a metal printer for metal printing, but new technologies and media are enabling that work to be brought in house. “The exciting news there is that our metal prints will be printed on our current equipment so they will have the full color range that our canvas and paper prints have.”
The company is also expanding its retail offerings. It has always offered its fine art clients—both photographers and artists—free retail space on its website to sell their work. “We are now expanding our space to include a retail print shop,” concludes Eves.
Cape Ann Giclée is an example of a customer-focused print provider utilizing its expertise to provide an excel-lent experience that keeps customers coming back. An arsenal of quality tools provide the highest print quality and enable it to expand into new offerings.
Aug2018, Digital Output