U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Gum over Cyanotypes

Re: Gum over Cyanotypes

Laura et al (long post about sizing, shrinking, drying blah blah),
I only size the whole sheet if it is 11x14 or smaller. That's because it is easy to do so in trays, but the bigger ones in trays--UGH. The gelatin gets too cool too soon to size well in my practice. The larger sizes (16x20) I brush size the front only.

FWIW I always size with glut/gelatin, THEN cyanotype print. No problem. It is important to remember that the cyano layer on a tricolor is only printing the blue in the image, thus it is not a fully perfect image. And, if it is too pale/washed out (which I actually prefer, and, in fact, now do to the point of only printing a blue sharp border at times!) it doesn't bother me at all because I print a final layer of thalo or indanthrone blue on top. A too light gum is never the issue because always another layer, always another layer...

As far as registration, with this method, never a problem with 11x14 or smaller. With 16x20 absolutely registration is my number one issue. In fact, if I lose a print to any cause, it would be registration. Try having to make 60 16x20's for a show in a short period of time...you have every problem in the book and there were moments...there were moments.....whereas the Parking Lot series, all 8x10 gums on 11x14 paper, same number of prints (and with both projects, close to double that number of actual made because I often do 2 of each image at a time) and no registration errors. So size of the print is a major factor for me in whether registration is an issue, if not THE factor.

I, too, like Loris, have noticed that the more layers, a relief forms on the back of the print where you see the print "suck up" or indent in the shadows. The overall paper shrinks from this about 1/8" or less, enough to drive me bats. I have solved the problem with a very slightly damp spongeover on the back of the paper after the negative is in place/taped. I let the paper relax for 5 minutes, and then as soon as the negative lines up visually on the lightbox with the expanded paper, I print. And pray.

It is very important with gum to start exposure at the same dry point with the paper. I don't force dry my prints with a hair dryer or whatnot after being developed. I let them hang dry and the only time I use a hair dryer is when I finish brushing on all the prints' gum layer in one printing session and the first one to expose is not dry enough, I'll whip out a hair dryer to dry it to the touch and begin the exposing process. By the time the first is done exposing all the others don't need a hair dryer.

I shrink only once. I then size. But if I am in a rush with no shrunk paper I size and then shrink when dry. This works fine with FAEW.

Oh, and horror upon horrors, Loris, I actually iron my prints after they are dry, just before coating the new layer on. I do not have a dry mount press but an iron on my kitchen counter does a GREAT job of flattening. On the cotton setting. Very low tech.

Funny, I never iron my clothes but I always iron my gums...

Christina Z. Anderson
----- Original Message ----- From: "Laura V" <laura@lavatop.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 3:39 AM
Subject: Re: Gum over Cyanotypes

Just wondering - does anyone size the back of their paper as well as the front? It's something I've been thinking of trying, but since I find sizing so boring, I haven't gotten around to it.