Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fun With Chemicals

Bethy and I used to have craft day every Friday. One week we made Vandyke prints, which are made through an alternative photo process. The Vandyke photo process is a basic silver salt emulsion, you begin by mixing certain chemicals together (Bethy did this part and I had no idea what she was doing, one chemical honestly looked like crystals from Superman's home planet Krypton.) Then you take the solution and paint it on to paper which creates a fun border. To make sure its dry we blew it dry with a hair drier then we arranged different leaves and flowers that we had gathered from her backyard on top of the painted solution. The solution is clear which makes it a little difficult to know exactly how it is going to turn out. Then you sandwich your print in a frame to make sure our botanical subjects didn't move, then we took them outside to be exposed by sunlight.

When exposed to UV light the solution turns brown but anywhere that is blocked by a leaf or a flower remains white. It is very neat to watch them darken instantly. After about 2 minutes we took them back inside to Bethy's darkroom that is built into her house and developed, finished and washed them. We learned by our third round that the simpler the pattern the better it looks. I found this to be a fascinating process and loved learning about and experimenting with it, yay for learning and trying new things!

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