Friday, January 10, 2014

Tea staining

Welcome to the first installment of Le Process Diary!

So, over the winter break I needed to stain a few of my photographs to put into a group exhibition at 500X in the upstairs gallery. (The 500X Gallery is located on 500 Exposition Ave Dallas, TX 75226 and the reception is January 11th from 7pm-10pm, and there are tons of great artists and a couple more shows happening at the same time in the downstairs gallery! .....Yes, I know...late notice, I'm working on that.)

Anyways..back to tea staining.. I work in my home and I call my kitchen the "Daylight Darkroom". Yoshi always has to supervise.
I have done tons of test prints using tiny 2x2 contact sheet images to figure out which brand of tea I prefer (I went through about 12 teas from Jasmine to Green to Black to Iced to Pomegranate, etc), and once I've selected about 3 teas I'll start testing on 8x10 test prints. My preferred teas are Albertson's brand (which no longer exists...the brand switched to Essentials and yes, it acts differently), Black Earl Grey and Pomegranate Earl Grey. Sometimes I mix them, it just depends on the mood. I've also found out that not only the duration in the tea bath but the temperature is a big factor on what color they turn (I like mine at about 150 degrees). And so once I'm done testing (which I'm never done testing really as everything turns out unique - I love it) I move on to staining my 12x18 prints. To dry them I will either leave them hanging or put them in the oven (225 for 2 minutes). Then I smoosh them as best as I can so that they will hang straight on the walls. :)
The arrow is pointing to where the prints are hidden. Lol. I use whatever is available at that particular moment. And then viola! Ready to hang! I'm using magnets to hang now: a) lessens the price and b) I'm tired of frames hiding both the tactile and olfactory qualities of my prints (Yes, they smell like tea!)

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