Ever since our friend Derrick visited mid-month bearing materials to make cyanotypes, I’ve been fascinated by the process. With the arrival of my own cyanotype chemicals late last week, I’ve dived back into experimenting, with hopes of combining cyanotype and letterpress. Today was my first try.
I started by picking some leaves from the sugar maple tree in front of our house (the tree is in peak foliage as I write, something that, in this case, is immaterial but for the fact that it will soon drop its leaves, making time of the essence):
I lay the leaves I picked on paper I’d painted a few days ago with the cyanotype chemicals, and set a pane of glass overtop:
I left them in the midday sunshine of my front stoop for 20 minutes, then brought them inside and rinsed them in the kitchen sink, changing the water a few times, for about five minutes, and then lay them out to dry. It’s this part of the process where the alchemy runs strongest.
Back in the print shop, I set SUGAR MAPLE in 120 point Akzidenz Grotesk:
A combination of impatience and wanting to try “printing damp,” which is a thing letterpress printers do, led me to print the cyanotype prints while they were, if not wet, at least soggy. The resulting impression was luscious compared to printing dry, and I’m very happy with the result: