Wherever I live, I pick up potential printing materials and test them.
I can guess what something will look like, but every potential printing object is a wild card. You never know quite how it will look, once sandwiched between iron salts and perspex.
Here in Penang, there are festivals year-round, and plenty of paper to decorate or to burn for Chinese celebrations. Like this one:
Once printed, it looks like a doily from my Grandmother’s table. The stripe effect comes from my varied printing times: about 5 minutes for each exposure. This is to determine the ideal printing time for each object.
Another eye-catching paper design is this one, in red and gold:
Printed and folded, the layers give an illusion of depth. I’m going to play with this one a lot in coming weeks:
The printed characters and features come through, particularly in more exposed areas:
A test with paper cut-outs combined with Mehndi stencils (from Little India in George Town, Penang). Varying exposure times combined with gradation of water added make for a complicated image.
Three Mehndi stencils are made of various plastics, so reflect light and print differently:
With a long exposure (nearly 30 mins), ink on this Chinese paper begins to print beautifully:
This sharp print on cheap paper
becomes much softer in blue and white:
And the details of this Muslim cloth are incredibly sharp.
This week I will take these materials, and others – elaborate fly-swatters, children’s knit caps – and begin to make something from them.
Something inspired by Penang.
More images coming soon.