Thursday, April 14, 2016

Blogging for Thor: The Shape of Things to Come

Silver Geometry Print #2: Silver Nitrate and Cyanotype
Hello, my lovely Spiders! I'm doing very well; I hope you are, too? Great.

Last week, I talked about beginning a new project. For the moment, I'm calling it "Silver Geometry" but that's likely to change since I've already made at least one image without any silver in it at all.

Step-by-step for
Silver Geometry #1
The biggest challenge so far is the fixed 2 day exposure time. With such a long exposure, the d-max of some chemicals is reached too quickly. If I want to preserve the colors created various levels of exposure, I need to work more quickly and then cover the area with an opaque block.

My first experiment using cyanotype and potassium dichromate provided a sad example of this kind of d-max failure. I was attempting to add rectangular areas of reduced exposure to the circle-based chemigram, but even leaving the opaque rectangles in place for 6-8 hours at a time, the exposure equalized so rapidly that no trace remains in the final image. There should have been four lighter areas intruding into the circular pattern. They're gone.

If I want to continue using faster-reacting chemicals like cyanotype and dichromate, it appears I'll have to create a color with varied exposure, get it to whatever tonality I want, then "seal" it by placing the opaque shape back over that area for the rest of the exposure.

There is good news, though! The first image worked out wonderfully and the
third image came out nicely, too. The third image hasn't got very strong shadows from the paper and tinfoil triangles I used, but it was enough to make faint impressions in the silver rectangle on the right, and to create a gradient in the uppermost cyanotype stripe.

The second two prints also showed the rather lovely potential from painting the chemicals next to each other, and allowing them to overlap and mix. I'm in love with what's happening on the third image where the silver nitrate and cyanotype solutions mixed together.

In the future, I'm going to be incorporating kallitype chemistry, possibly some toners, and experimenting with painting different salts onto the page to alter the color of the silver nitrate stains. This project is looking so fun, Spiders!

I'll be using Instagram to document the progress and layout of each print as I move through the stages of designing the geometric drawing, painting the chemistry onto the paper, setting up the photogram objects and then moving them around during the exposure. So if you want to follow me for updates, that'd be pretty awesome. I love seeing Spiders on social media!

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