November 2, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 32

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 There were a few warm, sunny days in the tail end of October, and I took advantage of them to make some more wet cyanotype prints. I had resupplied myself with my favorite cotton sateen, and treated some panels with the cyanotype chemicals in the usual way and let them dry. I began with a hosta leaf, showing the first signs of autumnal decay.
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 And followed with my usual stalward, a plume poppy leaf. Next were some goat's beard leaves, Aruncus dioicus.
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 I finished the batch with some calla lily leaves, also approaching the end of the yearly cycle,
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 and a bit of ornamental sweet potato vine.
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 The sun was warm, but the days are shorter now, so I left these out for a about 27 hours to catch two days worth of rays.
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 This seemed to be a good strategy, as I got a lot more movement and colors shifts than I typically do this time of year.
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 These exposed, unwashed prints are gorgeous!
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 Lots of promise in these. I removed the leaves and let them dry overnight in the dark before rinsing.
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 Here are the finished prints. This is a very good batch by my preferred standards.
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 This hosta leaf print is magnificent.
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 I love when I get those streaky orange and yellow bits.
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 All of these are destined for stitching and inclusion in a larger project. The spots on the calla leaves will be a real pleasure to stitch.
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 This is the darkest and most mysterious of the batch. Stitching will really make it pop.
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If you are new here, welcome! For the past year and a half I've been documenting my experiments with the wet cyanotype process. You can access all the information by clicking on the Wet Cyan tab in the top header, or click here.

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October 18, 2018

New Work - Low Pressure

Low Pressure, by Sue Reno
Low Pressure
I am delighted to share with you my latest work, Low Pressure. It's the fourth quilt I've made using my wet process cyanotype prints. This time I used prints made in late fall, as the weather took a dramatic turn into winter. (Previous wet cyan quilts are Storm Watch, Heat Lightning, and Heat Index. I've got a meteorological theme going on, which seems appropriate as these prints are very weather-reactive.)
Low Pressure, by Sue Reno, detail 1
Low Pressure, detail 1
The prints were made with leaves foraged in my garden that had not yet succumbed to frost, along with some sweetgum leaves I had preserved in glycerin.
Low Pressure, by Sue Reno, detail 2
Low Pressure, detail 2

Several batches of prints were subject to freezing temperatures in overnight exposures, and one batch had a light snowfall obscuring the light for a few hours. They were all great fun to do, and to observe developing.
Low Pressure, by Sue Reno, detail 3
Low Pressure, detail 3
Overall, the effect of the cyanotype chemicals breaking down was much more subtle than with the summer prints made in high heat and humidity, but still more complex than a traditional cyanotype. I think they are beautiful, complex, and worthy of contemplation.
Low Pressure, by Sue Reno, detail 4
Low Pressure, detail 4
The quilt measures 78" high x 37 inches wide.
Low Pressure, by Sue Reno, detail 5
Low Pressure, detail 5
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

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October 15, 2018

Low Pressure, New Work in Progress, Part 2

Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 6
As I was working on designing and constructing Low Pressure, I took some time to make a custom painted back for the quilt. The back is not normally displayed, but I enjoying making them unique, and like looking at it as I spend many hours quilting the work. I followed my usual procedure of swirling textile paint on cotton sateen, misting it with the hose, then letting it dry on my cracked driveway. There is wet, above, and finished, below.
Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 7

I added leaf vein details to the prints with stitching, then worked to the edges of the blocks with echo quilting, repeating and merging the shapes of the leaves.
Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 8
The connecting strips for the blocks were all pieced out of silks, many of them with plaids or floral designs. I felt that the prints were low key enough that they would be balanced by some intricacy in the sashing. I quilted the sashing with swirling designs representing turbulence.
Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 9
Up next, the reveal.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

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October 13, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 31

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Conditions were not ideal, but when are they ever? I had been away from the studio for a time and was itching to do some wet cyan work. The weather was partly cloudy, humid, and warm for October. The main difficulty was my lack of treated fabric, so I put the wet back in wet cyan and used cotton that I treated with the cyanotype chemicals on the spot. This method doesn't give the fabric time to absorb the solution as deeply, so the image tends to be more on the surface, but that's a difference I can live with in limited quantities. I started with a print of two calla lily leaves.
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I am also, after a summer of frenzied printmaking and quiltmaking, running out of my preferred cotton sateen prepared-for-dying fabric, so I experimented with wet treating sateen that I had previously painted with textile paints. I made two prints with this, a hosta and plume poppy arrangement, and one with Japanese anemone leaves and flowers. The white anemones are among the last perennials to flower in my garden, and their pure color and form is always most welcome.
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I proceeded on my last scraps of sateen with an ornamental sweet potato vine,
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more plume poppy leaves,
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and a painted fern frond. Everything was covered with glass and set out in the intermittent sun for about six hours.
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Here are the prints after exposure and before rinsing.
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That bit of pink around the edges of the calla print are from some highly diluted textile paint I sprayed on before exposure. Usually it migrates under the leaves, but not this time. Wet cyan prints are highly unpredictable.
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The ones on previously painted fabric are looking very promising.
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Again, when working with freshly treated fabric, I know there's going to be a lot of washout, so I let these dry overnight in the dark to help mitigate that a bit.
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And it's always good to appreciated them at this transitory stage.
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Here are the finished prints. You can never go wrong with calla lily leaves.
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I'm very happy with this one! The grid pattern in the leaves is from drying the peach painted fabric on my lawn furniture.
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Oh, this one's a beauty too. Stitching will bring out the leaf veining and petal shapes.
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A very solid sweet potato vine print here. Not a lot of wild coloration but great graphic impact.
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Same batch of chemicals, same exposure conditions, but this plume poppy print has a much softer feel and speckled surface texture.
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And the batch is rounded out with this soft fern print.
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All in all, a good experiment and pleasing results.

With this post, I am at 515 wet cyan images and process photos that I've posted here on my blog. I hope you are enjoying viewing them as much as I enjoy making and sharing them.

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October 9, 2018

Low Pressure - New Work in Progress

Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 1
Last year, after the initial discovery of wet process cyanotype and subsequent frenzy of printing had passed, I became interested in pushing the process into the cooler months.
Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 2
I made several batches of prints as autumn wound down, using plants that were still untouched by frost, along with some sweetgum leaves that I had preserved in glycerin.
Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 3
I followed my usual wet cyan process of adding moisture as I assembled the print, and leaving it outside for an extended exposure. But with the cooler temperatures, and the weaker sunlight, the chemicals did not break down as extensively as in the hot humid summer. The effects were more subtle, but still very different than with traditional cyanotype.
Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 4
I really pushed the process by leaving prints out to expose overnight when they were subject to freezing temperatures and a light snowfall. At that point, the weather changed dramatically, due to a low pressure system pushing through, and I paused my printing experiments for the year.

I kept thinking about the delicate beauty of this set of prints, so this summer I picked out a group of them and starting arranging and re-arranging them on a design wall, looking for a pleasing configuration.
Sue Reno_Low Pressure_Work in Progress Image 5
Up next, Part 2

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October 6, 2018

New Work - Heat Index

Sue Reno_Heat Index
Heat Index
I am pleased to share my latest work, Heat Index. It's constructed using four of the prints I made in this past summer's wet cyanotype frenzy, combined with silk patchwork. The size is 54" high x 51" wide.
Sue Reno_Heat Index_detail 1
Heat Index, detail 1
I talked about the basic construction of this work in blog posts Part 1 and Part 2. The plants used are (clockwise) Queen Anne's lace flowers, tulip poplar leaves, red maple leaves, and tall blue lettuce leaves. Tall blue lettuce is an elegant wild plant, Lactuca biennis, typically found in disturbed landscapes.
Sue Reno_Heat Index_detail 2
Heat Index, detail 2
The leaf prints are heavily stitched, to add detail and texture. The silk patchwork is also heavily stitched, and reflects light in beautiful and subtle ways.
Sue Reno_Heat Index_detail 3
Heat Index, detail 3
I made this work in response to the abnormal/new normal weather patterns I experienced in Pennsylvania this summer, with torrential downpours, soupy humidity, and high temperatures contributing to an almost daily high heat index warning.
Sue Reno_Heat Index_detail 4
Heat Index, detail 4
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