October 1, 2021

Experiments in wet cyanotype, part 72

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The season for fresh greenery is winding down, so I'm fitting in more #wetcyan and #solarfast experiments as I can. For this large panel on cotton sateen, I used some sensitive fern leaves and box elder leaves. Above is the print before exposure, below you see it after exposure but before rinsing.
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Here is the finished print. It came out nice and crisp, with a pleasing proportion of background mottling and patterning. Nothing outrageous, but very, very lovely. Into the queue for stitching it goes!
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September 23, 2021

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 71

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Welcome to another installment, number 71, of fun with cyanotype! For this batch I continued my experiments with using vintage embroidery as a starting point. These first two textiles, the two halves of a dresser scarf, are courtesy of Martha Ginn. After seeing my previous prints, she was kind enough to send me some of her embroideries to work with. I usually source these from flea markets, and sometimes people give them to me from family estates, but I think this is the first time I actually know who stitched them. It makes the process more meaningful.

Martha says: "The dresser scarf I can recall stitching while pregnant with my daughter, and using, washing and ironing for many years. BTW, I still love ironing--seeing something wrinkled become neat, smooth, and sharp-lined."

These are box elder leaves, with wet process cyanotype and just a bit of Solarfast chemicals mixed in, shown here just before exposure.
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For the next print I pulled a deer embroidery from my stash, and used the same mix of chemicals and box elder leaves.
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Deer were a very popular subject matter back in the heyday of these embroideries, which were often done from kits, or from patterns in women's magazines. It may have been the Bambi influence, or the fact that many households had deer hunters. I've used a deer embroidery before in a large quilt, adding stitched details.
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Deer and Mayapple, detail
This is Deer and Mayapple, from my Flora and Fauna series.

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Deer and Mayapple

For the final print in this batch, I used a delicate floral embroidery with a cutwork center that Martha gifted me (but did not stitch). This one has calla lily leaves.
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Here are the prints after exposure, but before rinsing. 
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There's no predicting how the fabric (of unknown fiber, but probably heavy cotton or linen) and the embroidery thread will pick up the chemicals, which is one of the things that I love about these experiments.
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The deer print is looking a bit dark at this point, it absorbed a lot of the chemicals.
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And this is why I love printing with calla lily leaves, the semi-transparent areas on the leaves leak the light through.
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Here are the finished prints.
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These two have a very lovely heathered look. When they are stitched to add definition, they are going to be very beautiful in a subtle way.
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I'm kind of in love with this deer print. It gives me the feeling of peeking through the tree canopy to see a doe and fawn resting in a clearing. Again, stitching will add definition.
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This one is also special, with a twilight-in-the-garden feel.
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September 9, 2021

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 70

 

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Time for more fun with mineral paper, wet cyanotype, and horrid invasive plants! These two first prints, shown here before exposure, are of Japanese knotweed leaves. For all of their faults, they have nice flat substantial leaves that print really well.
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These next two are the opposite, from the beloved and native wood poppy plant. They too have leaves that behave well for printing.
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I finished out this batch with a fern frond. When I started in gardening at this property two years ago I made an effort to record the names of all the ferns, but they move about a bit, and while I can recognize some easily, I'm not certain about this one at this point. It doesn't matter a lot for this purpose as all ferns are lovely.
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I added just a small amount of purple Solarfast solar dye chemical to the cyanotype mixture for these, and you can see how it sorted itself out in the post exposure, pre rinse images.
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These are just ridiculously gorgeous at this stage.
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I know from experience most of those orange tones will rinse away, so please enjoy them in these pictures.

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Here are the finished prints. There's a lot going on here, and it's all good.
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Just an amazing amount of fine detail in these, and a bunch of interesting color gradations.
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This fern print is intense! Enjoy!
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August 27, 2021

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 69

 

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Time for another big panel, about 24" x 48", on my favorite cotton sateen. The big leaves are the dreaded Japanese knotweed and the smaller compound leaves are native Virginia creeper, so it's a study in contrast on multiple levels. I used a combination of cyanotype chemicals with just a small glug of Solarfast solar dye. The first image is just before exposure. The next one is after it sat in the hot sun all afternoon, but pre-rinse.
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Here's the result. For as long as I've been doing this, you'd think I would not be surprised by the outcome, but this one behaved in new-to-me ways as the chemicals and colors moved around. I have a long, long queue of prints waiting for my attention, to be made into art quilts, but this one may jump  the line a bit as I am entranced by it.

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August 21, 2021

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 68

 

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I'm continuing to have a great time experimenting with mineral paper. It behaves very differently than fabric when printing with the wet cyanotype process, so it keeps me on my toes.
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For this batch I was working with the usual cyanotype chemicals, with an added glug of solarfast solar dye chemicals.
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The plants used are bleeding heart leaves and wood poppy leaves.
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I used a long exposure, about 20 hours, starting on a hot and sultry day, then catching the morning sun as well.
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This first set of pictures is of the prints just before exposure. You can see how the chemicals want to slither around on the slick surface of the paper. 
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A long exposure gives the chemicals time to get a grip and bond on the paper, although as with all things wet cyan success is not always a given.
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Here are the prints after exposure but before rinsing. There is a lot going on here!
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Some of this loveliness will stay, but a certain amount of it will rinse away. I like to take pictures so I have images of this funky intermediate stage.
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Here are the finished prints. 
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It's an especially intricate and delicate batch.
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Both of these plants are early spring bloomers, with leaves that tend to fade away in the punishing heat of mid-summer. I feel like I really captured their essence with these prints.
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That little bit of pink is from the Solarfast, or at least I think it is. The rusty colors can happen with wet cyan alone.
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There's several where the liquid rushed off to one part of the paper and established a sort of dam, with a defined line. I have no control over that part of it.
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This last one strikes me as particularly ethereal.
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