I’ve been playing with clay for the past few months with lots of grand ideas swirling around in my brain about getting Prussian Blue cyanotype on to porcelain vessels.
I got all inspired for a little afternoon experiment after my friend Kim ( http://frogpondsrock.com/ceramic-gallery-works/ ) put a call out for me on facebook to her ceramic network for advice on the ‘how to’ of getting cyanotype on to clay !!
The Sun was strong this afternoon so I thought I’d just start with basics & try and just get the solution onto a few bisqued porcelain beads & not bother with imagery to begin with. My aim with this experiment was to:
1)achieve a strong & stable Prussian Blue. 2) check to see if the clay was porous enough to take the solution & 3)See wether all the usual cyanotype rules would apply
I used some old solution that has been stored well in the dark & my little experiment was very successful.
I managed to achieve a good Prussian Blue (even in the 4pm sunlight & with old solution!) Midday sun is usually the best exposure time & freshly mixed solution is best.
The exposure time is possibly longer than a paper surface & I think the washout time is longer too.
I bound one bead in thread to see if the same principles of cyanotype applied with good clear results ie: “if it lets the light through, it will turn blue, if it blocks the light out, it’ll stay white” It was very successful ! photograms will work very well on a clay surface
I’m incredibly excited about combining my cyanotype printmaking & ceramics and I can’t wait to conduct a few more initial experiments with photograms & digital negatives & get some imagery happening. I’m not sure, however, that it will fire. I still have to do much research about firing cyanotype.
Here’s a few photos –
These are the southern ice porcelain beads I made. They have just been bisque fired (I’m not sure what temp as I’m such a newbie to ceramics & someone else packed the kiln !!)
Strong Prussian Blues beginning to appear after about 6 minutes – (oops a bit of staining on the front step!)
Yessssss- Beautiful Prussian Blue achieved
Washout ….. I have a feeling that they may even need soaking for better & more stable results ? If you don’t get all the solution out – the exposure process continues, the printed image blurs & the white areas become blue as well
This is the bead that I’m most excited about. I bound it with thread. The result tells me that fine images from digital negatives & photograms are going to be possible & very successful on bisque ware
The colour is holding well – doesn’t scratch or rub off & seems to be deepening as it develops, which is usual for cyanotype.
As an after thought, I decided to soak the test beads. This is to entirely remove the solution that seemed to keep seeping out of the porous clay & dulling the whiteness of the white areas. Soaking will stabilise the cyanotype & complete the developing process correctly. I know this as I’ve had problems with unstable cyanotypes on paper in the past & I’m guessing the same rules would apply to clay bodies.
I’m all fired up & excited about my ideas now. Next sunny day, I will try a few photograms for test 2. It’s going to be a bit of a journey as I’ve only just dipped my toe into the ceramic world with a recent 10 week course. There’s a lot to learn. Luckily I have a pottery wheel here at home on loan from the fabulous Kim, so I am also trying to develop my throwing skills.