June 11, 2015

Kousa Dogwood – Work in Progress Update 3

Sue Reno, Kousa Dogwood, Work In Progress, Image 9
I’ve been experimenting again with Jacquard Solar Fast as a printmaking medium.  I worked with it last year, making prints of my Kousa dogwood.  (You can read about it here.)  A few months ago I got a new supply of the product (see disclaimer below), and have been waiting until the weather and the garden were both cooperative to try it out.
In this set of pictures I’m working with the color Red, which comes out of the bottle as a medium pink tone.  It’s a new formulation, and does not have the ammonia odor of the product I used last year—in fact, it had no discernible odor at all.  I used a sponge brush to spread it on pfd (prepared for dyeing) cotton broadcloth.  I arranged a flowering branch from my Kousa on it, and held it in place with a few strategic small pins.
Sue Reno, Kousa Dogwood, Work In Progress, Image 10
Above is the print as it was being exposed to sunlight, under a sheet of glass.  It was a bright, sunny day, and I used an exposure of about 15 minutes, which worked out well.  I used too much product, probably because I am accustomed to slathering a certain amount of paint when I make heliographic prints, and had a bit of condensation form under the glass.  The resultant minor splotchiness in the solid areas of the print bothers me not a jot, as I feel like the variation adds interest.  As I continued to make more prints I used less product, followed the instructions (ahem) and blotted away any excess.Sue Reno, Kousa Dogwood, Work In Progress, Image 11
Above is the print after exposure, after removing the branch, and before washing.  Solar Fast needs to be washed out completely, so that the areas that were not masked do not develop color later.  Directions for all of this can be found on the Jacquard website.  Below is the finished print.  I’m very happy with it.Sue Reno, Kousa Dogwood, Work In Progress, Image 12
Here is a similar print made with the color Purple.  All of the colors I’ve tried have been just excellent, very rich and vibrant.  The other aspect I really appreciate about Solar Fast is the ability to feather it out around the edges.  I really like the effect and anticipate leaving some of the brush work visible when I later crop and stitch the print.Sue Reno, Kousa Dogwood, Work In Progress, Image 13 I had a fun afternoon of printmaking, and am thinking about other ways to use this process and this product.  I hope to bump this Kousa quilt up a bit further in the queue awaiting my attention.  The prints are wonderful and deserve to be showcased.

Disclaimer:  A Jacquard representative contacted me and generously offered to supply me with some samples of Solar Fast to experiment with.  I accepted the offer, with no strings attached.  Aside from the product I received no compensation, and my experiments and opinions are my own. 


KAM said...

This is my first summer of exploring printing fabric with leaves and flowers...and this looks like one process that would be great to try.

You have used the leaves and flowers from one of my very most favorite trees! I saw my first Kousa tree in the botanical Japanese gardens in Tacoma Washington about 7 years ago...and then last month when visiting friends in Lolete California they had tucked in their wonderful gardens a beautifully shaped Kousa...the "flowers" are so different from the wild dogwood that grow along the Pacific coast...an outstanding form...and how beautiful they are in your prints! As always, I truly appreciate the sharing of process that you do so freely on your blog. Kristin

Robin in WNC said...

Thanks for the great info, I have been looking for a different product to do sun prints with. Does the Solarfast change ghe hand of the fabric?

Cindy Steiler said...

I tried working with Solarfast last year and had the same issue with condensation. I live in a very warm climate and experienced it no matter how little product I used. I was printing digital negatives though so I believe the plastic plus the glass probably didn't help. I ended up going with a cyanotype process and toning them to sepia and black and white. After seeing your post though I think I'm going to dig out my solarfast and give some botanical prints a try :)

Sue Reno said...

Thanks Kristin! I have our beautiful native Cornus Florida growing here, they bloom much earlier. The Kousas are a great addition to my landscape. When I first planted them, I read a recommendation to site them where you can see them from above, which turned out to be great advice. I get a great view of them from my second story deck and they bring me much pleasure.

Sue Reno said...

Hi Robin, it's definitely worth experimenting with. In my experience it does not appreciable change the hand of the fabric. It works more like a dye than a paint in that regard.

Sue Reno said...

Hi Cindy,
I am planning on experimenting with the digital negatives next. Based on your experience, and mine to date, I think I will shoot for a not-too-hot, partly cloudy day. There's always a learning curve when working with a new product. I look forward to seeing how our botanical prints turn out.
Cyanotype is my first and truest love. I am always so impressed with with your process and your results.