Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Time to Dye

One day exposure!
I've been having really, really good results from the more dilute dyes, the ones with much higher levels of alcohol than normal. They're exposing in 1-2 days instead of 3-7 and still retaining good detail. Turmeric exhibits the same issues of color visibility, but the rest are working really well.

The problem with turmeric used by itself is that the resulting image is so yellow that it's hard to see. A slight hue shift in post-processing can make the image dramatically better simply by reducing the amount of yellow by about 10%, moving it to a more orangey hue. The same result can be achieved in the anthotype itself simply by including about 30% sandalwood in the mixture, or a light coat of blackberry juice on top of the turmeric.
10% more orange

Blackberry juice with lots of alcohol (about a 2:1 alcohol to juice mix) is, as I've mentioned before, green. This green dye produces a very fast exposure; I got a perfect exposure with visible detail like leaf veins in just one day of bright light. One day. That's mind-blowing for anthotypes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Confounding Condensation

My very first anthotype ever had a really interesting result. The yellow halo is a product of the moisture in the leaves leeching out into the paper and washing away some of the pigment. However, I've not been able to replicate this. I recently tried another batch of anthotypes using fresh blackberry juice, prepared the same way as the original batch, no halos.

So, I'm fairly sure there are two culprits:
The original anthotypes were exposed outside, in the direct heat of the scorching Southern sun.
They were not in picture frames, but smooshed between two plates of acrylic, allowing air flow.
No halo.
I tried putting my picture frames outside, but no dice. I tried using two plates of acrylic inside, no dice. I think it needs both the airflow of an open frame and the blazing heat of the sun to produce the results I want. I will be trying this soon! I'm especially hopeful because another recent experiment with silk dyed in madder-root produced a moisture halo.

Oh, that's right, I never mentioned that test result. Why? It sucked. Maybe I picked a bad plant, because the leaf I used ended up virtually transparent by the end of the seven day exposure. Transparent leaf means there wasn't any light-blockage and the resulting image is almost invisible. Plus, the madder root stubbornly refuses to give me a good color. Also, it's transformed into a mess of green-brown-white fuzz.

I think I'm done with madder root for the time being, it hasn't been of any appreciable use yet. Maybe when I get around to my next project, where I buy raw wood and felt it down into my own hand-made cloth, then dye the cloth and make anthotypes on THAT... then I might use the madder root. Maybe. Probably not.