elenahpowell

More gum bichromate related things

In Alternative process-y stuff on March 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Everything I’ve read has indicated that gum bichromate is temperamental and difficult, but I’m starting to disagree. The only print that hasn’t worked for me was with three day old chemicals (which is to be expected really – they weren’t air or light tight). Now I know what I’m doing it’s quick, relatively painless and only mildly carcinogenic as the contact with the dichromate is limited. (I’m sure I’ve increased the risk of me catching cancer in huge amounts in just the past week alone though – I’ve had almost daily contact with silver nitrate and potassium dichromate, I’m not sure rubber gloves and extraction fans will save me). I’ll probably change my mind about whether it’s worth it later.

I’ve started using my cheap and nasty poster paint too (it was six for £2, I doubt it’s anything amazing), so now I’ve done yellow, pale blue, red and dark blue prints (I call the yellow ‘where’s my fucking tea’ yellow, although it’s more mustardy-y, maybe people just shouldn’t speak around me and then I can’t collect quotes). I’ve ventured into the complicated bit of printing multiple colour layers, I did blue on top of red and that worked okay. The gelatine sizing solution probably could have set a bit longer, but I was rushing, so most of the blue did wash off. But it’s kind of mottled and looks okay. I’m going to have to work out how to make RGB or CMYK separations so I can produce a more sophisticated sort of thing…

Hot water is also far more effective in removing the unhardened dichromate, cold water doesn’t remove it all and the highlights end up being tinted with the base colour still. Hot water combined with a paintbrush (or fingers) removes it all quickly (so I know it worked) and then I leave it to soak for ten minutes or so. It also seems to alter the colour slightly, hot water prints come out a bit darker. I’ve also discovered that even if it looks like nothing actually happened, rinsing in hot water and rubbing at it for a few minutes will reveal the image. Which is strange, but…useful.

I’m getting far too distracted (I’m meant to be writing essays), all I really wanted to say was that it worked (again), even though I didn’t really think it would. And that I managed to do three processes in one day again, two of them simultaneously. Now I know what’s happening I’m getting pretty quick…the fact that it was sunny again sped it up a lot too.

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