Friday, May 15, 2009

Running to Catch the Sun

After many days of rain and gloom, it has been challenging to find a day when the sun is shining and I have the time to try an outdoor experiment making a cyanaotype on treated fabric. Today, with more rain in the forecast, I was ready to gamble with the peek-a-boo sun and clouds.

 In my studio, I laid out my bits and pieces of transparencies with negative images, chains, leaves, seed pods, washers and assorted other finds. Then in the dark, I transferred these onto the fabric I pinned to foam board. I ran up from my basement studio to check the light. What had been blazing bright and direct had turned cloudy. I started imagining packing up the fabric, wondering how long it would last now that I opened the original lightproof bag it came in.  I watched the sky and hoped for a break in the clouds. 

 Eventually the sun found it's way to my backyard deck again, between the houses and tall trees. I awkwardly  made my way up the stairs, through the house with the 60" x 10" foam board loaded with stuff.  I saw the imprinted images when I made minor adjustments to the placement of the items, it was really magical. You want to keep everything still so I quickly moved bits, making a mental note to secure things better next time. I waited through another grey patch, cheering when the sun came out full strength. 

I probably could have waited longer, but after 15 minutes of intermittent clouds, I pulled the board inside out of the sunlight and removed the fabric. Blue colored water poured down the drain as I rinsed the piece in the kitchen sink. I continued until the water ran clear. There were the images, the gamble had paid off. The learning curve was evident, the print is mid-range blue, I'd like it darker next time. Still, I couldn't help but feel a sense of wonder at my first cyanotype print on treated fabric. I bought my fabric from

This technique is challenging for impatient people like myself, however waiting for the sun pulls me out of  everyday rhythms into a larger one, more spontaneous. So when I finally caught it, I really enjoyed soaking up those photons. Now what will this all become? Well, something wearable, with mixed media, with or without felt, along a  similar vein of inquiry as other pieces in progress under the umbrella of "Domestic Inclusions", the domestic self, roles, identity. 

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