There is a great attempt to explain the similarities
and differences between art and science in this 2016
But couldn't we just accept as fact
that certain things are best explained by
Last fall I played with eco-dying and enjoyed making prints on paper from the leaves I collected on my hikes. I turned these sheets into covers for notecards and happily sold every one that I made. But there was a fair amount of "slippage," those attempts that failed, misprinted, didn't make color or for some reasons became a page that fell short of artistic use.
So this year I decided to dive deep into scientific research conducting various experiments and recording my findings. So out of my nature! But let's eliminate the misprints, ok?
I set up 3 different mordants (the liquid soak that prepares the fibers to accept the color) labeling them and giving each test paper the same amount of soak time.
I divided my leaves by types and included a few I'd never tried. (Not all botanticals will leave a visible print with this steaming method.) Oak was always a challenge but I decided to include it in my attempts.
Three different mordants, 2 kinds of cotton paper, several leaf types (pressed previously), a steaming pot outside and I was in business, er, science lab mode.
Wow! Look at that oak, that geranium, that batista and those maples...on a roll: sumac, sassafras and beech. Dump the vinegar soak, eliminate the ammonia...I was ready to rock the next day with 100% success. Papers prepped I went to bed exhausted but smiling for the success to come.
I was rewarded, above.
I was disappointed, above.
I was confounded, above.
None of these are ghost prints, the print bleeding through the paper or the mark left by the "top" of the leaf (best prints come from "ground side down" on the paper). And not an oak to be seen. Whaaaa?
So I made adjustments in pressure (the vise or stones or blocks that hold the bundles tightly together). I varied the timing of the "cool." I stood on one foot and I sang out loud. Everything STILL came out in about the same ratio of great : good : blah.
My conclusion? MAGIC.
I did not record where I found each leaf, the soil conditions it grew in, the altitude it lived in...in my heart I know that these are all contributing factors to whatever hides deep within the tannins et al that leave the mark I covet. I'm not that into research. And frankly I like the fact that there is a part of this that I cannot control, it makes opening the steamed bundles quite exciting. Some phenonmena can be explained and some things are best left to magic.
I rest my case.
MAGICALLY IN AWE,