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Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Two In Progress!

The creation of small single edition books is a fun way to enjoy my love of Eco Printing, and to learn techniques that bring out the best of color and line from my materials.  Here are four (out of 40) of my latest pages for the new book.  They are all cooked and printed in an aluminum pressure cooker that has the copper bottom from an old pan laying in it.  140 lb watercolor paper, no additional mordants added.  The pages were cooked the first time for 20 minutes under pressure.  Then they were allowed to cool overnight still sandwiched between the ceramic tiles.  The next morning, I opened the stacks and inserted some additional plant materials and metal bits and wires, then closed the stack again and pressure cooked for 20 minutes more and allowed to cool.  Some of the first colors changed a bit as they reacted with the metals, but an interesting red tone began to spread across the pages.  I like the final prints, and they they will make a lovely book.

27 comments:

  1. These pages are approx 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Binding them is going to be a challenge, as the pages are heavy paper and I want the book to lie flat when opened.

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  2. Thank you, Holly. I sure do get a kick out of making them!

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  3. Looking great and thanks for the info on how you 'cooked" them.. I bet some your/our book making friends will have ideas for binding that will allow the pages to open flat..Wendy?, others...

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    1. Thanks, Ginny. I actually have chosen a binding style. I found it on Bonefolder. Pete Jerrmann published his esay on The Adhesive Quarter-joint binding. It is especially for heavier papers and the need to lay perfectly flat. It is not that complicated, just a change of thinking from the usual Perfect Binding. I think it will work out fine.

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  4. OK, I'm hooked. I am a printmaker, paper maker, and bookbinder and this fits right into my world. However, in Tucson, Arizona I don't get many fall leaves! Are you using only fallen leaves or can on use leaves picked from the tree/bush etc???? I'm in search of a pressure cooker at the thrift store and can't wait to try the process with some of my handmade papers. Please give me some direction on the leaves!!!! I think I spent about two hours on you blog last night. What a treat.

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  5. The title of my first print book is Windfalls & Weeds. That about describes what you use to print with. You do not necessarily need Fall leaves to print, although in much of the country, the seasonal changes in weather also changes the pigments in leaves. You should experiment with your local flora (except any with a white milky sap)and maybe some weeds you find in your area. Keep good notes, try to photograph what you use, and try to identify it before cooking. You do not need a pressure cooker, a stainless steel, aluminum or enamel pot will work fine. If you want to try bundling instead of stacking, you may roll your paper around a piece of copper or pvc pipe or even a wooden dowel or small branch. If you use a branch, expect some of the tannins in the branch to leach out and add some color to your project. ou may actually boil your prints with water covering them or use only the steam in the pot to cook them. Boiling or steaming takes about 1 hr, then allowing to cool over night. Pressure cooking usually takes about 20 minutes and allow to cool over night. The instruction for stacking between tiles is a couple of pages back on my blog. The same rules for fabric can also apply to paper. You may use pre-mordants, use the pot as mordant (cast iron or alum, or copper) or add a post mordant (after cooking and cooling, dip in vinegar, iron water, etc.)even if another mordant was use pre or during cooking. Just a hint. I use watercolor papers to make my permanent prints, but good quality cardstock can be used for short cooking times to get a good impression at a lot lower price. I just find it more difficult to press the cardstock and get wrinkles, etc. out after cooking. It is much easier to do this with watercolor paper.
    Back to the leaves. I have found that in general, the backs of leaves print more color than the fronts. This is because a leaf transpires through the back surface, therefore there are many more openings in the surface for pigments to escape during cooking. Do not ignore your florist shop trash bin. Faded flowers and wilted leaves make great sources for color pigments on paper and fabric. Be fearless in you experiments, but keep good records so you can repeat something you like. Leaves that are high in tannin when cooked in an iron pot tend to produce many grays to blacks. Iron saddens most colors, copper tends to brighten them. I use beer bottle caps, empty metal cans, rusty scrap metal(springs, washers, bolts, screws nails, etc) scrap electrical copper wires, brass plumbing fixtures, raid the thrift shops for old copper or brass pots, candlesticks, cooking utensils, even old pots. You don't want to use any pot you have used for dyeing to cook food in,.You can pick up toxins from some plant materials without being aware they are there. I hope this will get you started, but feel free to kekep coming back to my blog and asking questions. Bon chance!

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  6. And to answer your second question, yes, you can pick fresh leaves from a bush or tree, but do this sparingly because the plant needs them to grow. Almost all plants drop some foliage whether it is fall or not. Windstorms break off twigs, branches, etc. that can be picked up and used for dyeing or printing.

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  7. Thanks for your prompt response. Looks like I'm off on an adventure. I have copper (from etching), rusted metal, etc.

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  8. Yes, your old copper plates will work well for eco printing as a mordant. One word of caution; do not pour your copper dye baths out of the ground. I save mine in gallon jars to re-use over and over. The metal salts do not disappear, even though the color pigments might. Copper can pollute ground water in some areas. Since I do not know how the soil in your area percolates and filters, I recommend that you try not to pollute whenever possible. Actually, dye baths can become richer over time and still contribute surprises. I hope you enjoy your journey.

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  9. What binding style did you decide upon???

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    1. See mu response to Ginny Huber above. This style relieves the stress on the pages and binding and lays perfectly flat. You may find it on Bonefolder.

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  10. Thanks for the great pics and terrific instructions.You are so generous with your info. Another idea re bindings - make a handmade box to your dimensions (from heavy card/mountboard)and lay your pages in flat. You could use not so precious eco printed papers to cover the box. Or a leather
    wrap....... 'Book + Art' by Dorothy Simpson Krause has a great section on unbound works on paper.

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  11. I have quite a colllection of 8x10 Eco prints that I plan to put in a case binding. Book I will be bound in a leather wrap with carnelian beadwork and probably a deer antler tip for a toggle closure. Thanks for the title of the Krause Book, I will try to locate a copy.

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    1. sounds great, hope we get a sneak peek :)

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  12. Thank you, Elisabet. I will also have to try your method. I love the clarity and colors you achieve.

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  13. Hi James, first time i visit your blog.......interesting as are your comments on FB. Will visit back.

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  14. Thanks for stopping by, Martine. Visit anytime.

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  15. Can I use dried fall leaves (very colorful), dampen them for flexibility, and then continue with the print process?

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  16. I have used dried Maple and Oak leaves. The bright fall colors did not hold up due to the heat, but in one batch I added vinegar and the red did give me some prints. The Oak leaves always print well for me. Various shades of brown, but with copper in the bath I got some greens and khaki. I say go for i! Leaves can be stored in boxes or, if flexible enough, put them in old telephone books..

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  17. hi james, i was wondering how your book was coming along... i can't wait to see it. i found the article on the quarter joint binding. how is that working for you? the experiments continue!! jeanne

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  18. It is coming along slowly. I am being very deliberate, as there are no replacement pages for this book, and I do not wish to make mistakes. I am making a mockup of the entire thing with blank pages, to get the cover and joinings correct.. There is a 3 part PDF by Peter Jermann entitled Reflections on Book Structures that updates the original article on adhesive quarter binding. I've taken the time to study it closely and it is finally beginning to make sense. The only material I have not been able to obtain is the glueable mylar that he suggests for joining the textblock to the covers. I have oone more event to complete at the Museum before I can devote my full attention to the book. I will surely post photos.

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  19. Since I couldn't locate the glueable mylar for the binding, I used a piece of silk habotai thoroughly saturated with white PVA glue. Be sure to leave at least 1/2 " on either side of the textblock. It might be stronger if your textblock is really thick to leave one full inch on either side.. The reason for this is that the first 1/4 " does not get attached to the textblock or the cover in order fo the pages to all lie flat.

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  20. Since I couldn't locate the glueable mylar for the binding, I used a piece of silk habotai thoroughly saturated with white PVA glue. Be sure to leave at least 1/2 " on either side of the textblock. It might be stronger if your textblock is really thick to leave one full inch on either side.. The reason for this is that the first 1/4 " does not get attached to the textblock or the cover in order fo the pages to all lie flat.

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