Print Versus Print!
For two drop-in Sundays in July and August, Branscombe House hosted “Print Versus Print”. The project actually started with Michelle Li, not me. Since our a Richmond Urban Food Garden project was happening, I asked her to help me think of some sort of garden-related art project. She suggested making sun prints.
Sun prints are based on early photography materials and processes, but have been more recently rebranded as a craft/art process. Before photocopying and digital printing came along, cyanotypes also existed as ways of duplicating architectural drawings, and are what we know as “blue prints”.
I have never used this material before, but it turns out it is a perfect material that can be really fun for people with different skill levels. Participants simply lay plant material on the blue-colored, light sensitive paper. In a matter of a few minutes, once exposed to bright sunlight the paper turns from blue to white, leaving the a blue shadow where your plant material was covering the paper. Once the exposed paper has changed to white, the paper is quickly soaked in a bath of water. Once in the water the colour reverses; the white becomes blue and the blue becomes white. After a few minutes of soaking in water, we scooped the print out and blotted it dry on blotting paper using paper towel.
Of course, I need all my workshops to be a three ring circus, so it didn’t stop there. Participants collected their foliage while their cyanotype dried, and made a second print. This time they painted the plant material with acrylic paint by either rolling it with a paint roller or daubing it on with a brush. Once face down on a piece of paper and sandwiched underneath a piece of paper towel, a small rolling pin ensured that the plant material was totally in contact with the paper.
Lucky me, not only did I have my regular volunteers Bernie, Ray and Lawrence helping out, I also had my mom in town, and the ever-helpful Madeline at the paint station. Madeline is the most mature ten-year old I have ever met! I hear she is also an excellent editor as well…