Just an observation

In Alternative process-y stuff on March 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I stumbled upon the perfect solution to two problems recently – the first being what to store very small amounts of chemicals in (30ml of cyanotype sensitiser was enough for…a lot of prints, some with incredibly absorbent hand-made paper and I’ve been using a 10ml solution for gum bichromate). The second problem being a surplus of 35mm canisters, they look nice if you drill a hole in the bottom and stick LEDs in (we have some on our dining table actually), but that involves actually doing something.

Better solution is to store useful chemicals in film canisters – especially the black plastic ones. They can take 30ml at the most, they’re ubiquitous (my current favourite word), they have nothing better to do with their time and they’re the perfect height. By which I mean, at about 3/4 full the metal bit (I’m lacking in technical terms) of a paintbrush doesn’t come in contact with the chemicals. So nothing drastic happens and nothing gets ruined by the metal. Given that I was keeping the gum sensitiser/poster paint in polystyrene cups, it’s an improvement. And I don’t have to keep hunting for empty water or milk bottles in the darkroom (because I happen to know where all the black film canisters are kept). So I get to be organised again, although if I was being really organised I’d use actual stickers instead of masking tape to label what was in there.

I’m exposing cyanotypes as I type (the best kind of multi-tasking which involves nothing more than looking to see if it’s done yet), I’ve already done one this morning which came out quite nicely. I’ve coated some different bits of paper, mostly because I’ve only really seen cyanotypes done on white paper/fabric and I have a nice little collection of scraps of paper. There’s probably some very obvious reason as to why no one uses nice, pretty, marbled paper (it doesn’t work, for example). But I’m curious, and I like patterns and I do like using my collections. Or some of them. We’ll see what happens anyway. I’m also finding interesting conspiracy theories about the Turin Shroud and the use of gum bichromate (there’s an argument – not entirely credible though – that Da Vinci was the first to use light sensitive materials to produce an image (there’s a portrait of him on the Shroud made from dichromated egg and urine).


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