Weekend with Solar Fast

This weekend  I am going to share another random project… that came about in my typical “happenstance” way. (no logic or planning… just hmmm let me try something).  My project?… I am going to use some sunlight developed dye to preserve some wonderful memories Isabelle and I shared while in Venice this summer.   I am starting with Solar Fast Avocado… not sure why I picked avocado other than they are delicious

SolarFast 1.jpg

I purchased some  white “natural” fiber fabric… (That is exactly how I asked for it at the fabric store and the lady working there found that request very funny…   I guess I don’t have the fabric store lingo down… In spite of the awkward request she showed me some cotton material and I said sure…).   I then looked through my Venice pictures and choose pictures that had “high contrast” and would look ok if they lost some detail.   I changed them to black and white,  increased the contrast, and then inverted the colors.

SolarFast 6.jpg
Here is one of the examples… I also put a decorative edge around the image.

You must print the image on transparency paper to create a negative.   The transparency paper will have a smooth side and a rough side make sure that you print on the rough side… otherwise the ink will rub off.   (this paper can be expensive… so shop around… you can find it for under 20…)

Here is the transparency paper I use.  I think I paid 19 dollars for 50 sheets.
SolarFast 3.jpg
Here are the pictures printed out.   I did this at work… shhh don’t tell anyone… (it was at 4:00 am… I couldn’t sleep so I went to work early)
SolarFast 4.jpg
You can see that I have cut or ripped the “natural” fiber fabric and have placed the negatives on top… Thie allowed me to get an idea of how the image will look.

Next step is in my closet… lights out… while I paint the fabric with the dye.   It helps to wait around 5 minutes before you begin so your eyes can adjust to the dark before you begin painting. (you don’t want to accidently paint the floor or wall… hmmm I hope it comes out before Isabelle sees it)   I then place the negative onto the fabric and sandwich the negative between two plates of glass that are clamped together.   The negative must be tight against the fabric for the image to work.

SolarFast 5.jpg

Once this has been done… come out of the closet (ha ha) and place the image in direct sunlight for about 20 minutes.  After the image is done developing in the sun… bring it in remove it from the glass sandwich and wash it in hot soapy water… This is about it… and here are the results.  (note that it is more of a mustard color… than avocado…   I guess that is ok…  I like mustard on hotdogs.)







I had extra cloth and negatives since I ran out of dye after 5  prints. Lucky for me…   I had some left over cyanotype chemicals so I mixed them up and finished the last three using cyanotype.   This is not the first time I have done Cyanotypes but it is the first time on fabric.

cyanotype on Cotton 2.jpg

cyanotype on Cotton.jpg





13 thoughts on “Weekend with Solar Fast

  1. Oh, my gosh….these are sooooo uniquely beautiful…what won’t you think of next? 🙂 And, what makes it all doubly delightful is your patient-willingness to share the process with others! What a wonderfully-inquisitive mind you have, and a great sense of humour….a charming combo…thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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