Welcome to my new crafty obsession 

I’ve always had a fascination with paper crafts but have never delved very far into that world. When scrapbooking was popular I was, for some reason, repelled by it but also had a strange fascination. This interest ebbs and flows. 

Recently I was in a local craft store buying art supplies and found myself drawn to an aisle that carried all of these completely adorable stamps and examples of handmade cards. I was instantly hooked. I started collecting these things and have even tried making a few, but I honestly don’t know what I’m doing.

Today I was at Craft Warehouse again and they offered a free class! So I made this card. It was fun. ūüôā

Pussy hats galore

In my post about the Women’s March I talked a little bit about the lead up to the march and my indifference. At the time, I didn’t see the point of protesting. I didn’t see how it could accomplish anything. As I pondered these thoughts I kept seeing these hats pop up on my IG feed and, occasionally, around town. I had to admit, I was curious. But I couldn’t drum up enough interest to knit one.

Then I read an article, written by a woman, who was irritated by the pussy hat. I can’t find the article right now (dammit) but I remember her mentioning that the hat would be made fun of, that the march was a serious matter and the hat would distill the march into something silly. She used “bra burning” as an example from the past.

I saw many of my knitter friends get angry at this article and, indeed, I felt annoyed by it as well. I am generally annoyed by people who tell me, or others, how I should think or what I should do, or that my actions aren’t good enough. And when women put down other women I feel a deep annoyance that is hard for me to articulate. Her argument was in the back of my mind in the lead up to the march. In the mean time I felt a tinge of inspiration and empowerment with each pussy hat I saw finished by my friends on Instagram. Still, I didn’t make one. Mostly because I didn’t expect to go to a march.

But the tides turned and I did go to a march! As I walked to the meetup spot I was nervous about who would show up. I was nervous that I would be alone in a crowd of people I didn’t know. However, that fear quickly dissipated as I got closer. I smiled as I saw all of the women walking down the street wearing Pussy Hats. I thought, “These are my people!” ¬†And then to see a crowd of people with pink hats at the meeting spot filled my heart with joy. I could see the purpose of the hat very clearly. It was a way to unify all of. A rallying point. Later on in the day when I saw the photos of the massive crowds and the sea of pink the power of the hat really took on a whole other meaning. It was an incredible sight.

I had to laugh when I saw tweets from Trump supporters wondering who manufactured all of these hats and how did the do it so quickly! LOL! Never underestimate the power of knitters. Or of women.

I went to a meetup of the women I marched with here on Sunday. It was the first of many meetings. We are coming together to empower each other and help each other continue to fight and resist. I’m really excited to dig in and be a part of something important.

Oh! And I knitted a Pussy Hat.

Blue (a cyanotype tutorial from a cyanotype newbie)

BlueI spent some time last Monday doing more cyanotypes. I made them 4×6 so I could use them as postcards for the postcard swap.

I am really enjoying this printing process. I am learning all kinds of things about printing in general, and specifically contact printing (which I am finding myself interested in).

In case anyone is interested in how this is done, here is how I made this particular print:

1. Find a photo that you think might make a good print. I am still trying to figure what kinds of photos make good cyanotype prints. I have read a few things about this but I learn best via trial and error. Her is the original shot I used. I took it last year in Vacouver B.C. at the farmer’s market on Granville¬†Island.

Sunflowers

2. Invert your photo in your favorite image editing software. The idea is to make your photo into a large negative, as cyanotype is a contact printing process. I use Adobe Lightroom so for me to invert my image I had to adjust the tone curve (using the instructions here).  I created a develop preset for this function.

3. Make your digital negative printable. This, oddly, was the hardest part of this whole process for me at first. Then I discovered Lightroom has a printing module . It makes this part really easy.  I save my file as a PDF.

4. Print digital negative onto transparency paper. You can buy  transparency paper at office supply stores or at Amazon.

5. Mix chemistry. I use the Photographer’s Formulary liquid kit. Mix even amounts of A and B. You will not need very much of each. A small cup used for cough syrup works well to measure out your chemistry. I mix it¬†into a small glass jar recycled from the bin. Once the chemistry is mixed it is photo sensitive so you must mix it in a darkened room. I have a safelight, so I keep that on so I can see. I don’t think the room has to be pitch black dark. I’ve done this in the bathroom with the lights off and light streaming in from under the door and everything turned out fine.

6. Apply chemistry to watercolor paper. This is the part I am still struggling with, so I am not sure I can give much instruction here.  At the moment I am using an art sponge brush and it seems to work OK. I brush it on in horizontal strokes, and then go over it again using vertical strokes. The idea is to get it on evenly and just the right amount.  After you have applied the chemistry let it dry in the dark.

7.  Place your transparency negative on the paper and put a piece of glass on top (sandwich the transparency between the paper and the glass). You want the transparency as flat as possible  on the paper.

8. Place your paper/transparency/glass sandwich in the sun. When your image turns army green it is done.

9. Rinse in running water for 5 minutes. You will watch it develop before your eyes like magic.

10. Place in a hydrogen peroxide/water bath of  for a second to bring out the deep blue color. 50 ML of hydrogen peroxide to 500 ML of water.

11. Let dry.

If I can do this¬†anyone can! It’s fun and easy and a great way to learn about making prints. It would probably be a great thing to do with kids.

 

 

My foray into cyanotype

Produce

I am fascinated by alternative processes when it comes to photography. I love to experiment with stuff (when I can find the time for it). I am especially interested in printing techniques. I’ve been wanting to try cyanotype for quite some time. I tend to procrastinate trying new things for an inordinate amount of time but, thanks to my husband, I jumped into cyanotype faster than I normally would have. it was to my benefit that he was interested in cyanotype as well. He ordered the chemistry and the day it arrived made some prints for himself. Since then it has been something that we do together when there is (the rare) sunny day. Here is my latest effort. I still have a lot to learn but I am having fun with it. The next time I do this I want to make postcard sized prints to send out to my next swap partner.

Continue reading “My foray into cyanotype”

On maybe (perhaps) being a reluctant notebook person

So, there has been some lighthearted Twitter arguing discussion about notebook vs. no notebook in the pinhole photography community (you should watch this very eloquent video SquarePegPinhole made in  response to this discussion). I have been a vehement notebook denier. I have never seen the need and find them cumbersome and distracting.  I feel like they break my creative flow. I have even tried a few of the really great iPhone apps and they never work for me. I inevitably forget to jot down my exposure information.

I have reluctantly changed my tune. In a way.

A few months ago I bought a large format pinhole camera, a Zero 45. There are several options one can use with it from zone plate, to pinhole. You can add extension frames. You can use different backs (which means you can use sheet film as well as 120 roll film or even Polaroid). The first time I took this camera out I tried almost everything with it.  It was fun, but when I developed my film and looked at the images I had no idea what I did. I was kind of mad at myself because I was trying out this new camera and was left at square one, not knowing how each setting affected the photo. This is when I began to question my non-notebook ways.

I asked around and a a friend suggested the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. It looked like it was right up my alley. I have been using it now for a couple of months and I love it. I carry it with me everywhere and I use it for photography, but I also use it for work too. ¬†I use it to keep my to-do list every day which has helped me stay focused. Also, I like to hand make my own books and there are great¬†tutorials on how to hack your own Midori insert. I love this! It totally appeals to my creative side.

As for the photography journal part of it: I still can’t seem to write down each exposure. When I am shooting photos I am using the creative side of my brain and it is very difficult for me to turn that side off and go left brain with the technical details. Instead I am taking notes before and after I shoot and I write down as much as I can remember.

Here is a video about how I organize my Midori notebook.

Here are some links referenced in the Video:

Baum-Kuchen for Midori resources. Specifically the leather charm on the front.

Check out Chronodex here.