Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Shot at Sun Printing

 We've been having perfect late summer weather here in the Northeast:  warm, dry days and cool crisp nights.  The daytime skies are clear and blue with barely a cloud.  The other day, I was home from work early (so the guy could give our oil burner its annual cleaning) and decided to take advantage of the weather to try sun printing.  I started by collecting some ferns and leaves that I thought might make nice prints.  Then I took a half yard of prewashed white cotton fabric and spread it out on our outdoor table in a sunny spot (I put a plastic tablecloth underneath to protect the table).  I spritzed the cloth with water from a spray bottle and splashed on some Pebeo Setacolor paints mixed with water.  I chose fallish colors - dark green, golden yellow, and a rusty red.  Then I placed my leaves and ferns all around and weighted some of them down with rocks, as you see above.  I didn't collect enough leaves and things,  there were some empty spaces between them.  I thought about adding a few more, but since it was such a dry, sunny day, the paint was quickly drying.  Instead, I sprinkled some of the empty spots with salt, which leaves speckles.

I also realized (a little late) that I should have chosen a different sunny spot - the shadow of the house very quickly threatened to overtake the whole piece of cloth - but luckily, my daughter's came home from school and were able to help me move the table further out.

Below is how the cloth looked after it dried in the sun and all the salt and leaves were removed.  You can see how the places where the leaves blocked the sun turn white.
Here is a close up of one area where you can see a part of a fern, an ivy leaf, and many speckles from the salt.
 Here is another spot on the cloth where the ivy vine and some of the maple leaf prints are visible.

 The cloth came out pretty well, and I'm considering using it for another "renga"-type project in my FANE group.  This time, the half-yard will be cut in two and go to two different people.  Since I can't make the next meeting, I'm not sure if I'll participate.  If not, I may add some leaf prints or stamps to it myself.

More importantly, I learned a few things about sun printing:  have more objects than you think you'll need, give yourself plenty of room away from any encroaching shadows, and results might be better if you use paper cut-outs of shapes rather than leaves and ferns that curl up and away from the fabric, making less clear prints.  Anyway, it was a nice excuse to be outside in the sunshine clipping leaves and playing with paint!

1 comment:

norma said...

This is very pretty, Cindy, but if you want more distinct shapes, put them under glass.