Cyanotype "on" or "in" concrete

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by michaelbsc, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Brian Shaw and I have been discussing cyanotype on concrete in the thread about cyanotype longevity.

    It seemed a good idea to break off and start a new thread about concrete. So here it is.

    My next step will probably be to get Mike Ware's material to better understand the ferric chemistry.

    But right now I'm in a parking lot posting from my phone and need to get back on the road.

    Anyone with any experience please chime in.
     
  2. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    This was my thinking in the other thread, and my meaning about "in" the concrete. Essentially soaking the sensitizer into the top layer. (Might not work.)


    Actually I was thinking the other direction. Concrete is full of ferric compounds. If you're working with it green one generally works the dyes into the top few mm of the surface.

    If a way can be found to exploit the ferric chemistry of concrete into a natural sensitized layer then it is part of the surface, not just sitting on top of the surface.

    Of course, there is a real possibility that the other reactions going on to set the concrete would wreck any light sensitivity. But it sure sounds worth trying.
     
  3. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Interesting idea. Sounds like a fresco type of technique.
     
  4. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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  5. Jadedoto

    Jadedoto Member

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    Isnt water a main component of concrete? How would that affect it, since washing away unexposed compounds is half of what makes cyanotype work?
     
  6. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Yes. As cement sets - not actually concrete - water is bound by the various ferric and ferrous compounds into pretty tightly held molecules. (*)

    But I don't think that any of the UV sensitive reducable ferric salt is going to be bound to water. After all, once you coat a piece of paper you let the layer dry before exposure. So the molecules of sensitizer will be different than the molecules of the structural support.

    Of course, I could be wrong!!

    Clearly this is going to take some research.

    *Decades ago a technician's knowledge of Portland cement's properties in presence of various contaminants was important in my work. But the vast majority of that knowledge is long gone now.
     
  7. Trinagray

    Trinagray Member

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    Hiya,

    New to the forum (!).

    Did you ever test the cyanotype/concrete thing? I'm thinking of embarking on it myself and would ideally like to not prime the surface first as want it to be fused.

    Thank you!

    Catriona
     
  8. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Part of the challenge is getting all of the sensitizer exposed to UV. Conctrete is quite porous, so you would need to move the light source around - the sun is not going to get at all of the sensitiser is my 2 bits comment.
     
  9. Trinagray

    Trinagray Member

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    I will probably be using a UV exposure unit so the chances of an even exposure should be better.

    Does anyone who has tried it have any examples they can put up or any tips? Did you buy paving stones or did you pour your own concrete?

    Thanks!

    Catriona
     
  10. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    The sun worked for me. The problem I had was with longevity of the image. It faded away.
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    My example faded away, but was just cyanotype chemistry poured on xisting older concrete sidewalk, then coverred to dry. A big negative was used. A garden hose was used to "develop" the image.

    The shame of it all is that I had so little interest in my experiment that I never photographed it. So all that remains is a memory.
     
  12. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    I wonder if spilling some coffee or tea on that area might restore the image? The problem with cyanotypes is that they don't like alkaline environment, and cement is very alkaline. However, toning with tea or coffee might restore some of the image...
     
  13. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Interesting question. It is on the sidewalk where I no longer live, but its only a few blocks away. I might be able to try that!
     
  14. Trinagray

    Trinagray Member

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    Thanks for replies - has anyone poured their own concrete in small blocks or tried anything with primed concrete?

    :D
     
  15. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I'm glad this thread has come back to life. My personal life has gotten in the way of my hobby life a lot the last year, so I've been pretty absent.

    My own original thoughts were for making images in concrete countertops. Like for kitchens and toilets. So clearly the image needs to be sealed. But as pointed out, concrete is the wrong pH despite its available iron.

    And from a previous life I know that jerking around the pH can have detrimental results to the concrete.

    A conundrum to say the least.
     
  16. Trinagray

    Trinagray Member

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    What do you think would be good to prime it with?

    Images on counter tops would be so cool! You should do it :smile:
     
  17. Trinagray

    Trinagray Member

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    I've been thinking about this for a while but it was when I was at the National Theatre the other day that I started feeling like I actually want to do it. The concrete there always inspires me and they were projecting a '20s film directly onto one of the concrete pillars. It looked awesome.