From Eco-prints to the Chlorophyll Process

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more”. – Lord Byron

Hashtag Nature is my Muse
Hashtag Nature is my Muse

I have always loved this verse by Lord Byron, and during this time of lockdown, which is set to continue here in Wales for another three weeks at least, I thought it was very apt.

Having this extra time, along with the continuing sunny weather, has meant that I can spend a lot more time than usual in nature, also giving me the opportunity to experiment further with my nature themed processes such as cyanotype, cyanolumen, eco-printing and even the chlorophyll process.

Curve, Samantha Boulanger, Digital Photograph, 2020
Curve, Samantha Boulanger, Digital Photograph, 2020

Since the beginning of the MA last September, I have kind of been waiting for the trees and plants to fully bloom so that I could go full steam ahead into my art practice. Up until recently, I have been using whatever foliage I could find and grasping the sunny winter days when I could, which has been an interesting and enlightening process in itself.

Now that Spring is really springing and most of the written work has been completed (with only a few more deadlines looming), I can experiment to my hearts’ content!

When Green Meets Grey, Samantha Boulanger, Digital Photograph, 2020
When Green Meets Grey, Samantha Boulanger, Digital Photograph, 2020

In my last blog Botanical Bounty I talked a little bit about the process of eco-printing and showed examples of some that I’d created using various autumn leaves, dried eucalyptus leaves and some dried leaves gifted to me by my late mother.

My most recent batch of eco-prints were created using fresh Spring leaves, a few small rusty pieces and a little natural acid dye, which I think worked quite well despite the leaves being so young.

Eco prints drying
Eco-prints using fresh Spring leaves drying

I will be trying with the same kind of leaves again as they mature throughout the year, as well as adding more rusty pieces of metal and perhaps some bits of wood bark and various mordants etc.

Eco Print on paper, Samantha Boulanger, 2020
Eco print on paper, 2020
Eco Print and rust pieces on paper, Samantha Boulanger, 2020
Eco print and rust pieces on paper, 2020
Eco Print on paper, Samantha Boulanger, 2020
Eco print on paper, 2020
Eco Print on paper, Samantha Boulanger, 2020
Eco print on paper, 2020

I really have enjoyed exploring this form of botanical printing and I am sure that I will continue my experimentations in the weeks ahead, really slow down into it, go deeper and look for ways to take this process further.

I’ve always quite liked to learn the art of bookbinding. I’d really like to turn some of my printed papers into little handmade books; watch this space!

Untitled, Samantha Boulanger, Cyanotype on Dried Leaf, 2020
Cyanotype on dried leaf, 2020

Also, I have been exploring printing onto various natural substrates, such as a dried leaves (above) and some tree bark; Birch tree I think (below), creating some interesting marks on them. I split the tree bark into sections, much like the trunks of trees in a forest, then fixed them to recycled packaging card and displayed in a concertina style booklet.

Cyanotyped Birch tree bark on recycled packaging in a concertina style, 2020
Cyanotype on Birch tree bark on recycled packaging in a concertina style, 2020

The next step on my leafy journey took me to the Chlorophyll process, which is another organic alternative photographic process, where I basically printed photographic images onto some fresh lily leaves using the sunlight to bleach the areas left open of the negative/positive transparencies, it is so simple and yet totally magical!

My first Chlorophyll experiment, May 2020
My first Chlorophyll experiment, May 2020
My first Chlorophyll experiment, May 2020
More Chlorophyll experiments, May 2020
A close up of one of my first Chlorophyll experiments, May 2020
A close up of one of my Chlorophyll experiments, May 2020

Unfortunately for the time being, I have to keep these printed leaves in the dark so that they don’t fade, just until I am able to fix them. I would like to do more of these using different leaves and images. There are some really wonderful examples of this process by artists such as Binh Danh, Tiffany Pereira and more locally Mary Thomas.

Thanks for reading…

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