Monthly Archives: July 2022

Cyanotype Trials

This week I’ve been experimenting with cyanotype printing JUST FOR FUN! I bought this set on Amazon because I wanted to experiment with paper and fabric. (You can also buy the pre-made sheets of paper if you want to keep things super simple.) I thought it would be more complicated to mix the components myself, but it’s pretty easy! You just add water to each bottle and let it sit for 24 hours. When you’re ready to make your prints, you blend the 2 components together in equal parts. It’s best to start out with a small amount to work with. (Separately the formulas last a long time. Once they’re mixed, the solution only lasts a few hours.) I’ve only used a few tablespoons for my experiments and I have plenty left to work with this summer.

This was my first day of experimenting. The bottom left sheet of cotton paper was my first try. I used postage stamps, Dennison labels, trading stamps, and my Japanese fern. I got some nice, clear prints but I knew I could do better. Next I tried some negatives and I got a nice outline (but no images.)

I tried a negative and a label on fabric, which was fun. And the square of fabric with the circle is a crystal old fashioned glass imprint.

The blue sheet with the random dots was my tomato test. It was around 5pm at the time so I think I need to try the tomatoes when the sun is straight up to see if I can get a better image.

After some reading online, I learned that the suggested exposure times on the package are not long enough. To get lots of detail, you need to leave your cyanotype out for much longer. So I left this one out for about two hours. It’s the Japanese fern, a feather from my yard, and a feather from Danielle.

I tried out vintage paper too. I put some negatives on a sheet of old music paper and left those out for over two hours and it was a success! You can see faint details of the Chicago architecture from these 2005 negatives in my personal collection.

You can see the details even better on this sheet that I left out from noon to 2:30pm. I even got the trading stamp details to come through!

I have a few more paper sheets and squares of fabric ready to go so I can keep trying new techniques on my sunny days off. My ultimate goal is to print a skirt or a t-shirt, but I want to have a better handle on what works best before I move onto high-risk clothing! (Also do you know how hard it is to find 100% cotton or linen clothes these days?!)

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Tomato Season is Here

On July 5th, I plucked my first Black Cherry tomato harvest! Only a small handful of tomatoes were ready but there are tons more ripening on the vine. Tomato season is finally trickling in!

Our Japanese melon and Japanese cucumbers are vining nicely and have tons of flowers on them…no fruit yet. Sadly, the rabbits made a buffet of Naoto’s edamame again, so we replaced them with three new tomato plants, a Mortgage Lifter, a Purple Cherokee, and a Pink Brandywine. They were late-season plants so we’re not sure how they’re going to do, but we figured it’s worth a try. We also added four poblano pepper plants, and a tri-color sage.

The rabbits made a feast of my ranunculus, but all of the other cutting and edible flowers are thriving. I’ve already used tons of borage blooms in cocktails and ice cubes. Other than nasturtium, the rest of the flowers have yet to bloom. And now that I know how big the dahlias will get and that the borage will take over, I have a better idea of how I’d like to plant this bed next year. Gardening is such a learning process!

This bed has–as it always does–turned into a tomato jungle.

Will this bed be big enough for these giant tomatoes and these wild vines? I guess we’ll find out!

In other garden-related news, the old owners left us an egg chair stand in the garage and this year we bought an egg chair to fill it. Zero regrets. It’s so fun hanging out in that thing reading and enjoying the yard, which is what I did last Sunday. Our weather has been pretty summer-perfect this week–not too hot and little humidity. Just dreamy.

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