Troubleshooting

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Exposing. 

As easy as cyanotypes are, they can be touchy about a few things… This project has led to a lot of troubleshooting, but since I feel very strongly about the idea I will continue until I get it right.

This project involves printing politicians faces on menstrual pads. To start, I had to find images (that didn’t have copyrights) on the internet and make negatives out of them. The transparencies I found are a little lacking in quality, and may need to be upgraded before this project reaches completion, but for now I think they will work!

The first attempt at this project back in January(ish) I used just the pads I had available and attempted to expose using black/uv lights indoors. Two problems with this, the pad I had did not contain enough cotton so the chemicals rinsed out with the water (I don’t know how I didn’t think of this). And the UV light exposed the image too slowly to capture the contrast I needed.

Second attempt, I got 100% cotton single use pads. Now, something happened during the drying process, either the area they were hanging in got too humid, or the chemicals went bad in the heat of the week I made them. Either way, the chemicals were almost completely exposed by the time they were dry. I tried to expose them anyway (above image) and discovered that the chemicals stayed, but the pads were exposed and no image was visible. The last problem I ran into, was that the pad began to fall apart during the rinse.

So, my plan over the next few days: I am going to get cotton, reusable pads. Cloth. These will be sensitized and dried in an area that has better (and less humid) circulation. I will test only one to start, just in case my chemicals have gone bad. Then expose from there!

I am weirdly loving this frustrating challenge and I cannot wait to show off the results. After posting this image on Instagram I have gotten a lot of positive responses for the project, which just pushes and inspires me to make this the best I can. Wait for more updates on this project!!

Feeling Blue… Cyan Specifically

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Cyanotype making! 

One of my very favorite photographic processes is the Cyanotype. It’s probably one of the most simple processes – Add equal parts solution A to solution B, a small dash of C if you want some contrast, coat or soak, dry, expose, rinse with water. Thats it. Children can do it. I love the simplicity because it gives me so much more room to experiment with concepts, what the chemicals are going on, i.e. fabric, paper, really anything that can soak up liquid and hold dye, and the infinite possibilities that those hold.

My favorite thing to use is fabric, because it holds the chemicals so well and can be easily folded, embroidered on, have previous patterns show through, etc. It brings in a whole new set of possibilities that paper just can’t always offer.

Currently, I am working on an idea thats a little more experimental and also a little political. Yesterday I was doing some more tests, the last batch failed, so hopefully I made the proper adjustments! The medium will be drying today and within the next few days or so I will expose them and post again, so watch for the next steps!

 

Me, My Work, and I

I grew up in Door County, WI on a small hobby farm in the middle of nowhere, where I was home schooled until sixth grade. During those years of homeschooling, I had the unique opportunity to explore topics I was interested in, instead of classes in school being decided for me. My dad, who always enjoyed photography as a hobby, taught me how to use his 35mm camera before I can really remember. Though I never really considered myself extremely talented or even thought of photography as a viable career choice, I fumbled and stumbled my way into the Art program at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, which,  incidentally, is one of the best photography programs in the state. During my undergraduate studies, in addition to photography, I discovered a love for textiles, as well as gallery studies/collection care – which led to an internship with UW-Green Bay and eventually a job at the Lawton Gallery. I graduated in December 2016 with a bachelor degree in art with an emphasis in photography and a minor in arts management.

I currently work as the Assistant Curator at the Lawton Gallery and work almost exclusively with the permanent collection, and I absolutely love it. So much so, that I hope to continue my education in this field. I am surrounded by amazing and inspiring artwork all day, and still have time to work on my own creations. I live and create in my small apartment that acts as a living space/studio in Appleton, WI.  

I work in everything from textiles to drawing, but photography is my first love and is the majority of my work. I am inspired by photographers like Francesca Woodman, Sophie Calle, Elina Brotherus, as well as Carrie Mae Weems and Anna Atkins. Most of my photographs are self-portraits or portraits with concepts centering on “the self.” My textile work is still in an exploratory stage, specifically working with embroidery and knitting. Lastly, my drawings are just small, quirky, bursts of thoughtless creativity that I personally love, but professionally reject. 

Now that you know what to expect as far as what you will see here, and where I draw inspiration from, please go ahead and subscribe so that you can get updates on my work, my ideas, and get to see some of my works in progress!

 

Images:

Top: Images from a photography course my dad took in 1973

Bottom Left: My Fathers Tools, Cyanotype, 2016

Bottom Right: Regular Old Princess, Drawing, 2017

Bottom: Self Study Eating Feathers, Archival Pigment Print, 2016