August 31, 2017

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 11

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Summer's not over yet, and I'm still cooking up wet cyanotype prints. They turn out different every time because there are so many variables, including the moisture in the plants, the heat and humidity of the weather, and the length of exposure. This round I started with a hackberry tree twig. I have several of them growing wild along the edge of my yard. They are somewhat underappreciated in the landscape, are prone to leaf galls, and send up countless hard-to-dig shoots in the flower beds, but I am still grateful for them. They are beneficial to a variety of wildlife.

Years ago I nearly drove off the road when I spotted plume poppies growing in someone's yard. Pre-internet, it took a bit of research to figure out what they were, but I obtained some and they seem like a gift each and every year. They are tall and majestic and architectural in structure. They are notorious for spreading, but I have heavy clay soil so they just pop up in interesting places now and again.
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Here's my Plume Poppy quilt from 2010, 81" x 74": 
Plume Poppy by Sue Reno
Plume Poppy by Sue Reno

I also printed some twigs from my kousa dogwood trees. I've been making prints in various formats from them for years, and will assemble into an art quilt at some point.
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I followed the same format this time as in part 10, with diluted Dye-na-flow and washing soda added to tint and enhance the prints. You can read about all my experiments to date by clicking the Wet Cyanotype tab in the upper header.
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Here's some interesting, insect damaged leaves from an ornamental sweet potato:
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I rounded out the batch with a stalk of variegated Solomon's seal:
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The day started out sunny but then the clouds rolled in, so I left the prints out overnight and caught a bit of morning sunshine before bringing them in to dry off in the dark. It looks like I have another moody batch on my hands:
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There was a lot of great mottling and explosive effects around the edges:
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Here are the rinsed, dried, and ironed finished prints, starting with the hackberry:

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The plume poppy:
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 Two kousa dogwood prints, above and below:
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 The ornamental sweet potato:
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 And last but not least the Solomon's seal:
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I'm very satisfied with this batch of prints. I am closing in on producing prints with this technique that are not just fun and novel, but also have a degree of sophistication. I'm getting closer to capturing the intent of all my work, to show a deep degree of familiarity with my subject matter. There really is no substitute for doing the work.

1 comment:

Vivien Zepf said...

I love all the extra mottling that appears on the prints!