Argyro/Cyano paper issues.

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by samuelingram, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. samuelingram

    samuelingram Member

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    Hey guys.

    I'm sure you hear this a lot so stop me if you're tired of it.

    I recently began creating digital negatives and exposing them with cyanotype solution, with mixed results.

    Aside from getting badly contrasted images, which I'm sure will just come down to trial/error when it comes to printing my negatives out, I seem to be getting weird dark marks, like splatter marks, all over my pages a few seconds after applying the solution. If I had to guess, I'd say that the solution is 'bunching up' in the grain of the paper I am using. When I wash the images after exposure, these marks seem to go more brown, looking like dirty marks on the paper. Hydrogen peroxide solution makes this worse.

    I just did an Argyrotype, it is exposing as I type this, with some solution that I had left over and the same has happened. I will finish the exposure and process it anyway, but I don't have high hopes for it.

    Here's the technical stuff.

    With the cyanotypes, I used Windsor and Newton 300gsm Watercolour Paper, Cold Pressed. I hadn't heard much about this, so I'm fully expecting someone to tell me it's useless.

    With the Argyrotype, I used Canson Monteval Traditional 300gsm Watercolour Paper. I heard this is great for Cyano, but haven't heard much about Argyro. It was just here in front of me, so I thought why not.

    I have some Arches Aquarelle Cold Pressed, which I'm saving for use after I've made three or four consistently acceptable exposures with what I have, since the Arches cost me a bomb.

    I put two drops of Photo-Flo per cc of solution in all of the exposures. I should perhaps be more scientific in my tests, but these dirty marks need to go first before I can start worrying about max densities and humidity and things like that. I'm exposing with a UV bulb, by the way, which exposes the cyanotypes incredibly quickly. The argyrotype in the other room doesn't seem to be reacting to it as well.

    Any help that you guys could give me would be great.

    Cheers,

    Sam.

    Edit: By the way, I bought my solutions from fotospeed, and I use their Digital Contact Film for my negatives.
     
  2. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    How are you applying the solution?

    Which cyanotype are you using?

    Can you share a scan showing the problems?

    If I had to guess, I'd say that you let the solution sit too long before spreading it and it was absorbed by the paper in the spots you dropped it. On the other hand, I am unfamiliar with the papers in question, and they could be really poorly suited to siderotypes.
     
  3. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Anyone doing alt-process work should start out with samples of 10 different papers--6 of which should be ones recently recommended by other alt-process practitioners. These processes are all very sensitive to the type of paper and for the most part--paper mills do no quality assurance related to alt-process use. Some papers work beautifully, some don't work at all, and some may partially work or only work by painstakingly optimizing the process. Testing a number of papers should allow you to find the ones that work without excessive machinations.
     
  4. samuelingram

    samuelingram Member

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    I am using the fotospeed solution. I believe it is the Mike Ware one. As well as the fotospeed argyrotype solution.

    I'm applying by running a syringe across a glass rod, then spreading it. It could be that I am applying too much at once, but I am applying the amounts that Ware recommends, I will post a scan during my next attempt.
     
  5. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    The Mike Ware cyanotype formula is very sensitive to the quality of paper.
    You may wish to try acidifying some paper in dilute HCl - most "acid free" papers are loaded with buffers that can create havoc with iron processes. Good luck!
     
  6. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    You're technique sounds ok. Mine is a bit different: I form a line of solution at the top of the page, about 1/2-3/4" from the edge, put the rod on that line and jiggle it back and forth to make sure it is even, then draw it back and forth over the paper until the solution is gone. Either way, it does not seem that you should be getting splashing.

    Liquid requirement is based purely on coverage. I mean to say that the amount you need changes with different papers.
     
  7. R Shaffer

    R Shaffer Member

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    Yup, I'm mostly in agreement that the papers your trying are not compatible.

    But, unless you have problems that require a surfactant ( photo-flo ) then just leave that out. If you do need it, then you'll probably want to dilute it.

    The good news ( or bad ) is that the Aquarella has a decent chance of working.

    So try leaving out the photo-flo and a small sample of of your precious stash of aquarella and see what happens.

    Also you can check out DPUG.ORG ( apug sister site ) for digital negatives.
     
  8. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Cyanotype (both trad. and new formulas, the new one being much more sensitive) and Argyrotype (very sensitive) both need pure, *UNBUFFERED* (neutral or slightly acidic pH) papers. Don't even think about using a buffered paper; you won't get good results, only a lot of frustration. (Some buffered papers can be made work by acidification, but that's a PIA and IME, often the results won't be as good as - technically - what you can get by using the - technically - right / perfect papers...)
     
  9. Matthew Rusbarsky

    Matthew Rusbarsky Member

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    When I coat Arches with my cheap brush, the cyano chems stay "on top" of the paper for quite a while, allowing me to get even coats even with a cheap brush. I've used other papers that were chemically compatible but had issues because they were not sized as well as Arches. Stonehenge for eg. wants to suck the chems right off the brush, not given me enough open time to evenly coat the paper. This results in a mottled look in the finished print. Also, Arches is expensive in the block, less so in sheets.
     
  10. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    I've had good luck coating Mike Ware's formula on Buxton with a foam brush. One of my students showed me decent cyanotypes and VDB prints on Arches watercolor. There's not only a problem with buffered papers, but recently I've read that even the quality of the cotton they use has gone down. Paper is the trickiest part. Also, Berrger's paper known as COT 320 should work. It works for platinum printing and it's available from their website. Here's a cyanotype on Buxton.[​IMG]
     
  11. samuelingram

    samuelingram Member

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    I've read time and time again that Buxton paper is the best. I just took a look at the Berrger COT 320, and the price is reasonable. If I see some examples printed on it, I may invest in some.

    I'll be doing some controlled tests later today or tomorrow on Arches to see how different variables effect my prints. I did some rough tests yesterday, such as acidifying the paper beforehand, and had varying results, but I was just playing about and didn't record what I was doing. I'll pick up a foam brush in a couple of hours also.

    Beautiful print, by the way.
     
  12. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    Buxton is a wonderful paper for iron-silver (and just about anything else, I expect). It is a bit harder to coat than, for example, Arches Platine, but not terrible and the results are fantastic.

    One thing to remember is that, unlike emulsion based processes, the paper for liquid chemistry is just another piece of the overall chemistry.
     
  13. samuelingram

    samuelingram Member

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    The paper seems to be the variable that makes the most difference to the overall print here. It's really interesting to me, especially coming from a watercolour painting background.

    I just took a look on the Ruscombe Mill website, and there's a brand new paper called Herschel. It has been developed by Mike Ware as a speciality paper iron-based prints, just like Buxton. I'm tempted to buy a few sheets of that, and a few sheets of the Buxton if my wallet allows it.
     
  14. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    The Herschel looks amazing (on spec). I have some on the way, but it was announced last week. If I were you, ordering paper, I'd try to get some of each. One thing, Dr. Ware knows what he wants in a paper.
     
  15. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    An excellent paper to learn on is Beinfang 360 (or maybe it is "was", see below). It is a thin very pure vellum-like paper, comes in pads, is cheap, and has no issues. It is easy to coat with the cheapest of foam brushes. The downside is that it isn't easy to use in sizes above 11x14 as it can be hard to handle without tearing.

    50 sheets of 9x12 for $8...
    http://www.dickblick.com/products/bienfang-graphics-360-marker-paper

    Example: http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=37365

    Later edit: scanning the comments on the Dick Blick site it seems the paper has been changed and reports are that it is inconsistent and 'not what it used to be' (but then it never was). My stock dates to the mid 80's when I used for proofing with a Calcomp pen plotter.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2011
  16. samuelingram

    samuelingram Member

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    How do people find coating with a foam brush compared to a glass rod? Is there more wastage? I picked some up earlier and I'm eager to put them to use tomorrow.
     
  17. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    If the coating material is cheap (like cyanotype), foam brushes do a great job. They coat nicely, but do suck up a lot of extra emulsion. I just started using a Richeson 9010 brush for Pt/Pd printing and was struck by how little emulsion is needed with the brush. Considering the steep increase in the price of silver, I'm going to buy more 9010 brushes for other processes.
     
  18. RussellWelch

    RussellWelch Member

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    Cyanotype Papers

    I use the Ware New Cyanotype and have had success with the arches A hot press, lenox, Strathmore Bristol, Rising Bristol, Stonehenge, COT320, I brush coat all of these, rod coating will give a gritty look on some of these papers. I have also used the Arches, Cot320, for Argyrotype, this process is very sensitve to chloramines in the wash water, and I use only distilled water for processing.