I use a lot of photographic techniques in my artwork, not because I am a terrific photographer, but because I work with layering. Using personal photographic images connects well with the intimate nature of my artwork.
I am not the gifted photographer in my family. My husband, who took the self-portrait in the I Hear Voices photograph, is amazingly talented, and very creative in his approach. My daughter, editor of photography books for Lark Books, has one of those very fancy, professional cameras, and creates the most amazing imagery. All of this is lucky for me, because I always have a source for imagery, and people who can help me manipulate the images for my own purposes.
I have taught Polaroid transfer techniques for many years, after learning how to do the process using my (okay, our) slides at the Cleveland Institute of Art. I bougt a Daylab, Jr. and went to work. Since Polaroid is discontinuing the manufacture of the film, I am desperately seeking new sources. I recently joined a group I found online, The Impossible Project. They are in Holland, and are trying to keep the film production going. I hope they are successful.
Chris, my Polaroid transfer on paper
Now that spring has arrived, I am really itchy to do some cyanotype printing. Cyanotype printing is a very early photographic technique that has not changed much since it was developed in the mid-1800s. Chemically treated paper or fabric is exposed to sunlight and whatever objects or transparent images are placed on top serve as the 'negative.' While I have often used this process to print objects, I really like to utilize photographic negatives for the technique.
Cyan print on cotton of pebbles. I used a color photograph my husband took, enlarged it on a photocopier, then printed it onto a plastic transparency.
For the quilt shown below, I asked my husband to take a series of "body parts" pictures for me: ears, eyes, hands.
I used a cyan print of my hands, which was then layered with sheer silk organza, in the center of the piece.
My Hands Don't Look the Same Anymore, art quilt by Gayle Pritchard
Now that I have my garage studio space set up, I think I will do some more prints. Would you like to see how it's done?
Cyan print on watercolor paper. This greeting card is available in my etsy shop.