I finally built a contact printer that is stable enough to be outdoors for extended periods of time… or so I thought. The Plexiglas is currently being held down by c-clamps instead of hinges and its own weight. It actually began to curl up on me this morning. However, several prints have been made and I am pleased for my first try.
I should probably explain what an anthotype is… the antho prefix means flower. Flowers are collected, mashed to a pulp, and mixed with a little alcohol and vinegar. The mixture is strained through cheesecloth and the liquid can be used as a dye. It is light sensitive, but backwards from a normal photo-paper. The sun (or fake UV light in a box) will bleach out the light areas of a negative (returning the dyed paper to white) and leave the area under the denser part of the negative colored. A positive makes a positive. A negative makes a negative.
I used the the term flower loosely as many fruits make excellent dyes as well. I made two solutions to use as a pigment. One with blueberries and the other with beets. To each I added vinegar and alcohol. Then I coated 300 gram watercolor paper. The beet juice appears bright pink when coating but turned orange-y when dried. The blueberry juice was very light, so light that I coated the paper 4 times and thought I would still have to do more. I was thoroughly surprised there was wonderful dark blue pigment left behind when the paper completely dried.
I have several litho negatives/positives from my time in Italy so I started with those. One on the blueberry paper and one on the beet paper. The beet paper was finished bleaching in several hours and to save that print I disrupted the blueberry print. The blue print is salvageable but this is when I noticed that the contact printer was curling and I had to fix that before attempting to print again. By the time I did I knew there was only enough time to try another beet print today so I will try the blueberry again tomorrow(hopefully there will be sun!)
Here are my first two attempts at anthotype printing…
I am also impressed with the scanner I am currently using, I can still see the grain of the paper. Blueberry prints to follow soon, possibly prints on canvas or wood as well. I would love any feedback, especially any tips on making digital negatives so I can increase my photo oppertunities.