About mid-January, I shared this spread.
I know it's hard to see, even with my wonderful new camera, but it's winter and we all have difficulties photographing our art during the drab winter months when the sun is so low in our northern hemisphere sky.
The background got me thinking, though. It was one I created using National Geographic pages and turpentine.
A bit of science behind the paper National Geographic uses may be in order. The printing in National Geographic Magazine is mostly attributable to its photo gravure printing process. This is not offset print, but according to an online photo forum:
Gravure printing is used for long run printing where its greater prep costs outweigh the cost of multiple plate changes. The process utilizes a 72-inch wide copper coated metal cylinder which is etched with a pattern of very small square cells of varying depths with a computer controlled diamond stylus. The depth of the cell controls the amount of ink deposited on the paper, and even the type is screened. The etched copper cylinder is then coated with chrome to prevent wear.Most newspapers and cheap magazines contain uncoated paper that has a slightly fibrous surface. National Geographic uses a coated paper that has a smooth clay coating applied over a base paper. The base paper is made first, then put through a "bath" of clay coating. Alternately, it is coated while running on a metal roller that smooths out the coating on the paper. The clay coating is what gives National Geographic the fabulous color photos it produces in each issue, and what allows the turpentine to interact with the coating.
Now that you are up to speed, here is a post from June, 2010 I called
Cleanup, Aisle 5
Back in 2008, I made some turpentine papers using National Geographic magazines. I had very little success with the process and was deeply disappointed.
Then, in 2009,
I did it again. That time I had marginal success. I had more success with the plate in the photo I was rusting!
Saturday was a different story. Since I had turp sitting in a bucket, I decided to try this technique one more time. This time I didn't use a brush, I just dumped the National Geographic pages into the bucket of turpentine, allowed them to sit for awhile, then separated them, allowing them to dry in the now sticky Kansas heat and humidity. Later, when I checked on them,
I was jumping for joy. Sure, they still smell and I mean SMELL, but they are awesome. The good news is, most of the scent will be gone in about a week. If you are sensitive to the scent, be sure to leave them in a place where there is plenty of open air (Ed note: I left them in my garage for at least a week after I took these photos).
I truly believe this is how they should have looked the first two times I tried this technique.
Just so you know, the top photo is from 2008, the next two are from 2009, and the last ones are from Saturday. And I used that same can of turpentine, too (free from my Household Hazardous Waste Swap and Shop).
End of post_______________________________________________________________
Just a few words of advice from what I learned in 2010.
1. Be sure IF you use turpentine, perform this process outside, wear a respirator, and gloves.
2. Pull the pages apart after they have soaked for awhile, but before they have time to stick together.
3. You can also twist the pages as you separate them which will help to mix the colors.
4. Don't expect text to change. The only color you will get on the text is from the opposing page if it has a color print on it.
5. This can be a hit and miss process. Some pages, even after sitting submerged in the turpentine will not mottle.
6. You can't be stingy with the turpentine. I found the only time I got good results was when I submerged an entire section of the magazine.
7. If you have breathing problems, or are allergic to the scent of turpentine, I suggest using
Turpinoid, an odorless turpentine alternative found at craft and art supply stores. Be aware, this tiny 4 oz (118 ml) bottle was over $6.00 (USD) in 2009.
8. Alternately you can use
CitraSolv. It costs about $12.00 (USD) for 8 fl oz (236 ml). My friend Halle sent me a bottle this size for my birthday one year.
Now it's time to share your Second on the 2nd. The rules are quite simple and everyone is welcome to join the fun look back. All you have to do is bring back a post that you are especially proud of, or perhaps one you shared before anyone knew your blog existed. Any post, any genre, any Altered Book Lover. Please be aware this link is only open for five days, so linking on the 2nd is preferred. is acceptable. Then link below (direct links only, please) and Bleubeard and I, along with other Second on the 2nd friends, will be by to visit. I would also appreciate it if you would link your post back to Second on the 2nd at