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!!