Papers for alt. processes.

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by walter23, May 7, 2007.

  1. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I'm having nothing but the worst of luck finding a decent paper for van dykes & cyanotypes. I've tried watercolour paper, rising stonehenge paper, a low weight calligraphy paper, etc, and I've had nothing but problems with the stain leaching out during the rinse, water marks, image softness, etc.

    Any suggestions? The only ones that really worked were the sample papers that came from Bostick-Sullivan (and I'll order from there if I get desparate), but I'd like to find a decent paper in the local art stores.
     
  2. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Weston Diploma Parchment. Very nice paper for MANY alt processes. http://www.butlerdearden.com/Weston.aspx Call John Zokowski. It's a bit on the thin side, so a little tricky with BIG prints. The color is ivory-ish.
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I've had very good results in Cyanotype printing with Strathmore Bristol Plate. I've tried a few different papers and this is the one that really shines, at least for me. As with all these types of papers, just when you find something you really like, the manufacturer will change something and put you back to square one...

    - Randy
     
  4. cperez

    cperez Member

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    I agree with Kerik. Weston Diploma is WONDERFUL.

    If you need something with a whiter base, try Arches Platine(sp?). I think it's the basis for the more expensive COT320 papers.

     
  5. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Good advice (from some great printers BTW) about Weston, Arches, etc. Would guess that the paper you got from B&S was Cranes Kid Finish, and if you liked it (and it did not fall apart on you - it is more delicate than Weston) I would give the Weston a try. Cranes Cover Stock - AKA Platinotype would be another possible paper.

    It also sounds like the coating may not be completely dry and that is part of the reason for the stain, soft image you describe. Give it a bit longer drying, and see how that helps, also be sure you get a good even coat (it's easier to say than do sometimes). Good luck!!
     
  6. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Ahhh, maybe it is not quite dry. I have been printing an hour or two after coating. I'll try again with an overnight drying and see how that works out.

    Thanks for the suggestions, and I'll definitely try some of those papers if an increase in drying time doesn't help. One of the ones that worked out well was, in fact, Cranes Kid Finish, so I'll try the Weston. I also had a sample of COT320 and it was really nice, but as pointed out it's pretty expensive and I'd like to find something a bit less painful.
     
  7. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Well, an hour or two should be enough time to dry. Are you coating with a brush, coating rod, ? How much are you using (volume) to coat with? It has been a while since I coated any VDB, but it sounds like you are doing it correctly. Maybe someone else can offer a suggestion, if you could post a scan of an example it might help someone trouble shoot. Or if you have a kit from Bostick and Sullivan, Kevin is always willing to help - might give them a call.
     
  8. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    For VDB I'm using a cheap flat-wide brush from the art store, and about half an eye-dropper of the stuff (not a very exact measure, but say 10 to 12 drops per 4x5" coating).

    For cyanotype, probably about the same quantity. Usually I measure out enough drops using that rough guideline into a small beaker and just brush the stuff on as many sheet as I can coat (which usually works out to be close to my 12 drops per 4x5 estimate).

    One of my big problems is this sort of migration of the dye from the edges inwards (if I leave my brushed borders unmasked), or from other really dense areas, when I do my wash. I'll see if I can find a good example to scan. It seems like the exposed stuff isn't adhering to the paper properly (both cyan & VDB).
     
  9. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Make sure you're exposing the cyanos long enough. With very dense negatives, it may take a lot longer than you expect for exposure. What sort of water are you using for washing? I have extremely hard water here so I usually "wash" the cyanos initially in a tray of 50/50 vinegar and tap water or filtered water so it's slightly acidic. I just leave them facedown in the tray for 5-10minutes or until it looks like the yellow staining has left then I rinse in tap water or filtered water.

    I've found rather cheap paper works better than expensive writing paper so far. If you're unsure if the paper is buffered or not, just let it sit in a similar 50/50 vinegar bath (or stopbath for B&W silver process if you have that around as that's generally cheaper than vinegar) and let it dry fully overnight before coating with cyanotype.
     
  10. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Just for reference I use 8 drops from an eye dropper or 0.5 ml from a syringe for my 5x4 images.
    Do you mean Migration of 'dye' sensistizer when you are developing? If so this is normal to see a certain amount of exposed chems migrate out (especially from the uncovered borders). This can cause staining if not washed away so make sure that the movement of fluid used to clear causes constant change of solution. Don't use too small a tray!.

    I use a foam brush or a coating rod to apply the sensitizer. The foam brush seems to work better for kallitypes.

    I print Cyanotypes and Kallitypes. I have found that Arches Platine is a good paper for the kallitypes, Arches Aquarelle worked fine for the Cyanotypes. Infact most watercolur papers that I have tried have been fine for Cyanotypes.
     
  11. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I was just at a local large format users' meeting and got some good advice. Apparently I was using paper that wasn't sized properly so the sensitizers weren't adhering properly. Also had some paper recommendations (and local sources!) so this is good. Between that and the advice in this thread I should be in better shape next time.
     
  12. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    I just made over 200 or so cyanotypes with Rising Stonehenge and they appear to be OK. I dunno, I'll ask the 46 recipients of the recent postcard exchange to render their verdict.

    No staining, no leaching, no watermarks during rinsing. My image is purposely soft, so I can't comment there. I'll post a couple of my cyanotypes images soon. I liked the paper so much I ordered a whole bunch more.

    I also like the Fabiano and Aristico paper for PT/PD. I forget exactly which 'model' of paper. But they come in 8"x8" square pads. Works for me.

    Last year I also bought a dozen 20"x24" (I think that's the size) sheets of Arches Platine paper in Toronto. Wonderful stuff for PT/PD, but a pain the butt to cut. Well, I'm lazy that way.

    I haven't tried the Arches Postcard paper for PT/PD or cyanotypes. Might do that for the next postcard exchange round. Arches postcard has a very rough surface texture, so it might go so well. Dunno. They're great for Polaroid transfers though.

    Regards, Art.
     
  13. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Actually looking back over my rising stonehenge attempts, I think the major problem was that I was using negatives that weren't suitable (not enough contrast), but the texture of the paper also gave me the impression that it was leaching off (because of the soft look). With my other "bad" papers (some type of watercolour & a calligraphy parchment) it was definitely leaching off, which confused issues as I coated several of each type and did a run of all of them. It's hard to sort things out with multiple variables flitting around like little bats and pestering you.

    I picked up some new paper (arches hot pressed watercolour) which a local VDB & Pt/Pd printer recommended, and it seems to have a good texture for fairly detailed prints, so I'll try it with a negative that I've had good alt. process prints from on crane kid finish.
     
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  15. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I second Kerik on the Weston. Overall the best paper I have found for use with a wide variety of alt process. Lighter weigh than many, but very good wet strength.
    You may be having problems other than paper also. What is the usual humidity range in your dark room? Is your tap water acidic or basic? These and other things sometimes neglected are important to good print quality.
     
  16. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I think the water is basic, which I guess would tend to bleach cyanotypes, right? There's no way I'm going to use distilled water for this stuff (would need way too much), but maybe I could add a pinch of some kind of buffer, or even just a bit of acid, to reduce the pH.

    The humidity here is very low.
     
  17. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Any word on any plans to produce a whiter version of the Weston paper?
     
  18. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Robert - Nope, not yet.
     
  19. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Yes, put a pinch of citric or boric acid in the wash out water, especially for the first 30 to 60 seconds.
    Also, you do need to raise the humidity or humidify the paper after drying the sensitizer. Before I bought a humidifier i used to hold the dried paper over a small electric skillet with water just below boiling for several seconds until it became slightly limp. This increased my success rate tremendously. It also improved the D-max of cyanotypes and VDB's.
    Good luck.
     
  20. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    Walter, just add some vinegar. Acid seems to make the cyanotypes a bit more turquoise, but after it oxidizes (or after you add peroxide) that turquoise effect goes away. If your cyanotypes are looking on the purple side, they may be in an alkaline environment. That will not only bleach it, but it will make it fade over time. So when I intentionally bleach my cyanotypes, I follow that with a bath in acidic water to prevent unwanted bleaching from continuing.

    As for papers, I can't get enough of Bienfang calligraphy parchment for cyanotypes. I'll also use that for Van Dykes once I get that going. It's too thin for gum printing, though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2007
  21. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    Interesting. I do it bone dry -- I worry that a little bit of moisture will cause the chemistry to develop itself while being exposed. With cyanotypes I just use multiple coatings to increase the Dmax. I use the old cyanotype process, and with 3 or 4 coatings it becomes almost black in the darkest shadows.
     
  22. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    What does the humidity do? Increase the photoreactivity of the stuff?

    Paul, I'd imagine it's much more arid here in the prairies (might as well be desert) than it is on the east coast, but I've never actually been there.
     
  23. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    It's humid here in the summer, but it's exceptionally dry in the winter -- especially with the heating system in my building. I started doing my cyanotype printing during the winter when it was really dry in here and didn't have any particular difficulties.
     
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    sanking Member

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  26. payral

    payral Member

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    Thank B&S for that. I just placed mine too.