I thought I would make a start with my quilt since I have not made one before & there are lots of tricky things which could go wrong in making 35 cyanotype prints on cotton.
Step 1: find out how to use resist on cotton: draw up the square around which the cotton needs to stay white and block it using wax: if it works on batik, why can’t it work on cyanotypes? The article on the Alternative Photography web site, recommended by fellow OCA student Catherine Banks, suggests using black silk painting outliner or vaseline as a resist.
Step 2: since I can’t find my old tjanting, buy a new one and a pot to melt the wax; buy wax..
Step 3: calculate the size of the squares which will accommodate 5 squares across and 7 down which have a 15cm image and, with a denim border, will fit on a 150cm X 200cm surface = 27cm cotton squares with 2 X 1cm seams and the same for the wadding. The idea now is to sew the cotton and wadding squares with the seams showing on the outside of the quilt.
Step 4: buy / beg used denim jeans for the quilt edge from a charity shop – plenty of those around – and wash them.
Step 5: cut up templates on card for the cotton; cut t2 trial pieces of cotton into 27cm squares and draw round the 15cm square centres for the image. Melt the wax & go round the outside of the image square. Paint the inside with the ferric cyanide solution and leave to dry.
Step 5: Check the effect of the wax in the squares: disaster: the chemicals have seeped below the wax except in one small part of the perimeter:
Step 5: start experimenting to see what went wrong. I thought that perhaps the cotton needed to be hot too so I tried:
As all the experiments were done painting the same side of the cotton which came out with a rough texture, I tried painting the back first – same result.
I then tried to iron the wax out but it left a yellow stain where it had been – do I change the wax or wait till I have exposed the chemicals to UV light and rinse in hydrogen peroxide and then wash it? I will first expose to UV, rinse & then try to iron out more wax.
- The tjanting has a clean edge which I could not get when I was using the stiff bristle paint brush.
- Applying the wax to both sides has no advantage over applying it twice to the same side.
- The thickness of the wax is crucial in not allowing seepage.
- I need to practise using the tjanting a lot more in order to control it better.
- Try the vaseline method before I decide which leaves the better white border around the images in the squares.