I really did try making these cyanotype prints for fun. But then I remembered I signed up for our library’s Tiny Art Show. I decided to incorporate the vintage music and negatives print into my piece. I’ve been thinking about nostalgia a lot lately–a mix of watching Stranger Things and visiting my hometown and just existing in today’s cruel world…
Anywayyyyyyy…I have had this quote by George W. Ball in my journal for a long time, “Nostalgia is a seductive liar, evoking bowdlerized pictures of times past with all the shadows painted out.” So I distilled the point down to a few words and typed them out and added a shiny vintage Dennison star.
Last Sunday, I met some friends and we went to check out the Tiny Art Show together. (We found Naoto there!) It was such a great variety of styles! Most people painted, but there were a couple who (like me) chose to go another route. I’m sharing some of my favorites:
Now my piece is back home on its little easel and I think I am going to display it with my other library art which just happens to match!
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?!)