Paper for cyanotype
Has anyone had any experience with either ives BFK or johannot for cyanotypes? If so would one be recommended over the other? My guess is neither is high on the list of perfect papers, however I have some of each of them. Also have some COT 320, however probably not enough to complete the project and it is 11 X 14 which really isn't the size I want (14X17). I'm out in the sticks and getting to an art supply store is a bit of a challenge. Thanks in advance, Bill Barber
BFK works just fine for cyanotype as it is. The newer BFK has a weird buffer in it, so if you plan on moving onto Van Dyke with it, you need to remove that by soaking it in a dilute solution of citric acid...
BFK also doesn't shrink very well in my experience, so I wouldn't use it for something that needs multiple coats, you just won't get your registration exact (close, but never really great).
Nsurit, can't speak for BFK but various pages about Johannot says: (a.) 75% cotton + 25% esparto and (b.) Acid free / *buffered*.
(a.) It's best to stay away from papers which are formed by a mixture of fibers; absorption characteristics of different fibers may differ considerably, and that may cause increased graininess. (Cyanotype et al. are extremely affected by the absorption characteristics of the substrate...) Cyanotype (by its nature) gives more grainy results than ...say... pt/pd, therefore it's best to avoid anything that may exacerbate this characteristic.
(b.) Cyanotype - and any other iron / iron-silver process - is pretty sensitive to alkali conditions; you have to avoid alkali buffered papers at all costs - if you're after best possible results, optimum longevity, with minimum frustration.
Look for pure cotton, *unbuffered / neutral pH*, *watercolor* papers. (N.B. Not printmaking papers, "watercolor" papers; printmaking papers are usually weakly sized / more absorptive compared to watercolor papers. Too much absorption may lessen the definition of the image, and weak sizing may cause handling problems - while wet processing - such as creasing or tearing, especially so with lightweight papers and - relatively - big image sizes...)
Hope this helps,
Originally Posted by nsurit
I'm new to the process and have been using Cranes Platinotype for cyanotype. However a few days ago I printed this image on BFK:
Bostick & Sullivan recommends pre-coating BFK with Tween 20 or distilled water. I didn't have any Tween (it will be delivered today) so used distilled water and I believe that the streaking visible is due to not properly coating the water on the paper. I would be concerned about using BFK for cyanotype as it is a "buffered" paper.