Prints Composed of Crystals - Growing crystals in situ with the image

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by holmburgers, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    File this under crazy ideas, but I had a "waking dream" and the result was this...

    A crystalline print

    A number of chemicals will grow fantastically colored crystals, and I'd like to employ them (or at least devise a method) to make an image.

    Sure you could crush up crystals, inbed them in gelatin and make a carbon print, but I want the crystals to grow from the print.

    I frankly don't know how to do it, but Ian H. had a good idea. Using a "dusting-on" process you could sprinkle seed crystals on a gelatin relief, harden it and then soak this in a saturated solution of the chemical to grow the crystals.

    You could then varnish the print with gelatin to protect it. Imagine a print like this, with tiny crystals growing out of it.

    Anybody? Don't leave me hanging...

    some inspriation -> http://www.corvi-mora.com/rogerhiorns_window.php?2
     
  2. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I always enjoy reading your posts even though I never know what the hell you are talking about. :smile:
     
  3. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Given the slow growth rate of crystals, I'm thinking growing them in-situ on photographic paper might be really difficult. Plus, how would one grow different crystals at the same time, or even serially without contaminating the crystals of other chemicals. I'd be more inclined to grow them separately, then sort/grade, arrange, and mount in a thick gelatin layer.

    BTW, there was a kid in my high school class that grew crystals for a hobby. AFter we stopped laughing at him we actually noticed how interesting those crystals really are. I haven't done bad in my college education and carreer, but he has done FANTASTIC. Being a nerd really paid off for him!
     
  4. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    Seems that we were both reallllly busy at work today Chris :whistling:
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    :laugh:

    and this is why I post things like this! Thanks michael, brian and ian.

    Ok Mssr. Shaw, I admit that you've already surpassed my knowledge of crystals; which consists of exactly 1 crystal growing kit, a white elephant gift.

    I'd like crystals to grow in accordance with the image, that is, shadows will be the largest & densest crystals while lighter tones should consist of tiny & sparse crystals. Maybe by somehow creating an image of crystal "seeds" (perhaps by carbon or dusting on), subsequent soaking in a saturated solution would grow crystals in proportion to the image.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got important work to do.
     
  6. nhemann

    nhemann Member

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    I was brainstorming this as I also sat here "working." Its not quite the same as you were thinking but maybe it will help open up the thought field....

    My first thought was to create a kind of ferrotype, with the denser areas obviously having a greater concentration of iron. If you could somehow put a magnetic field across that, maybe a ferrofluid would respond to the increased flux and start to relfect the image - but the ferrofluids I have seen are jet black to tonal range would prob be an issue.

    Second, a type of glass plate print in say salt that you could then put into an "vaporized" environment (like a fine mist sea sparay)that would allow crystal formation on top of it

    Third,(and this is the good one ;-) another sort of print, on say an aluminum plate, that you could put a charge across with light/dark areas taking different values and by using an ion gun similar to when they make hi-rent telescope mirros, allow the deposited metal to adhere according to the charge field on the plate.

    Good luck its a fun thing to think about - and now believe it or not, I have to go and inspect steel in a fuel oil tank. yuck.
     
  7. nhemann

    nhemann Member

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  8. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Powder Process / Dusting On

    Hey nhemann, sorry I never responded to your posts on the topic.

    I'm curious about your 3rd suggestion with the ion gun and charged aluminum plate.. that sounds interesting, though not for crystals right? A "patinograph" or some kind of image comprised of metal would be cool.

    So Ian had suggested the dusting on procedure to me privately and I think that maybe if I learned a thing or two more about crystal growing that might work. The whole idea of dusting on, or powder processes, is to utilize those fabulous dichromates and their ability to harden and subsequently reduce the tackiness of an "organic body", i.e. gelatin, gum, etc.

    Here are some formulas for dusting on from Wall & Bolas' Dictionary of Photography, Powder Process

    Obernetter's Formula
    Dextrine .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 60 grs. [grains I guess?]
    White sugar .. .. .. .. .. .. 75 grs.
    Ammonium bichromate.. ... 30 grs.
    Glycerine .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 3 to 8 mins. [minims?]
    Distilled water .. .. ... .. .. . 3 ozs.

    Woodbury's Formula
    Gum arabic .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 60 grs.
    Glucose .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 45 grs.
    Glycerine .. .. .. .. .. .. ... . 10 mins.
    Potassium bichromate.. .. .. 30 grs.
    Distilled water .. .. .. .. ... .. 2 ozs.

    It goes on to say, Mix by gently heating, filter, and preserve in a stoppered bottle. A plate is coated with either of the above solutions, and dried at a gentle heat, and then exposed under a positive... on removal from the printing frame a faint image is seen. The plate is then exposed to the air for a few minutes to allow it to absorb moisture , and fine plumbago [graphite], as used by electrotypers, is applied with a flat brush, when it adheres to those portions protected from light, and the lights and shades are represented more or less by a coating of graphite. When the image is fully developed, and there is no further adherence of the graphite, the superfluous powder is dusted off, the film is coated with collodion, and then well washed to removed the unacted-upon gum & bichromate...

    So, maybe replace graphite with finely ground crystal "seed", let dry and soak in the appropriate solution long enough to grow crystals. Sounds easy enough.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    There was a method for growing colored crystals of salts in various patterns that we used to use years ago. I've forgotten it all, but the crystals and colors were pretty.

    PE
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Does this stuff grow on you?

    Steve
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Ron, do you mean at EKC?

    Did you guys ever do any actual work?

    :laugh:

    Well pretty & colorful crystals are what we need for this to work.. 'just need a bit more know-how when it comes to crystals.
     
  12. DPVisions

    DPVisions Member

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    I am going to be forced to stop reading this forum.. To many interesting ideas are coming forth and I have Shinny Object Syndrome and cant resist takink an interest in the ideas.

    Cheers,
    David
     
  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    David, no, you mustn't stop reading! I need smart folks like you to take an interest in the ideas, and maybe someday they'll actually grow legs.
     
  14. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Chris;

    I got a kit for crystal growing when I was about 10 and grew these colorful things in a clear glass jar. The kit had the ingredients which included some common chemicals and I think one of the was glycerine. Anyhow, I recreated it about 5 years later with the help of a friendly pharmacist. I grew some again in blue, red, yellow and green.

    I remember it was simple abut I can't remember the chemistry.

    You dumped the salts into water and they did not dissolve right away. Then you added a liquid to the container and as the salts tried to dissolve, they formed colored "mountains" growing upwards from the bottom until they began to topple from their own weight. It was a very interesting and exciting thing to show to friends.

    I never did it again, and never at EK.

    PE
     
  15. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    I have been forcing myself to not even think about this whole concept.
    Alas, I am powerless when it comes to shiny sparkly things.

    This "crystal recipes" website might offer some ideas.
     
  16. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Holmburgers,

    My kids did some crystal growing a couple of years ago: http://www.anikin.com//photos/read.2009-09-14-OMSI/DSC_7804.b.jpg

    I was thinking in similar terms as you did. Basically, make a cyanotype as a seed image, and then use crystals to grow on it. If it works, if should be really beautiful! One day if I get some spare time I might try it...

    Eugene.
     
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  17. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Hey Ian, thanks for the link. The chrome alum one is tempting since I've got some, though copper sulfate sure is purty..

    This guy seems to know a thing or two about crystals... http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/crystals.htm ...and he even uses potassium chromate (quite fond of that one), potassium dichromate (doesn't mention any health risks, hmm) and potassium ferricyanide, to name just a few.

    I'm tempted to email him.

    Ron, don't know why I assumed you did that at Kodak! :redface: