Our yard is something of a jungle (although since Saturday morning early, it’s at least a freshly mown jungle). Plans for the front and back gardens always get pushed off for other things, and I am amazed that people who own more than a postage stamp sized piece of land find the time to keep up with it. We are not those people.
But even in a mess of a place there are things with interesting shapes and patterns. And we finally had a weekend morning with the perfect combination for this project: lots of sun, little wind, and time – just enough.
The girls hunted out cool things in the yard, and I brought out a few cool things from inside. Our medium was sun print paper – a Christmas gift last year that I’m sure was a bit of an impulse buy during the sun short days of mid-winter.
We set up a cardboard folder and pinned two sheets of paper onto the inside in the shade of the porch, selected our objects, and then ran out into the sunshine to quickly set them up.
It was a lot of fun. Luckily the package came with thirty sheets so it gave us some time to perfect our technique. Actually, after a few tries we were less concerned with perfecting our technique, and more challenged and inspired to find cooler and cooler objects.
The paper lightened from blue to almost white in less than two minutes…
The objects were removed and the cardboard folder closed immediately so that the blue portions weren’t subjected to light.
And then the exposed sheets were submerged in water for about a minute. The sheets took about twenty minutes to dry in the shade, and the blue paper turned blue again and the silhouettes turned white. I got to tell the girls about the old days when I ran blueprints of all my drawings at work, instead of printing out boring black and white ones on a plotter. They thought that was cool. It just made me feel old.
After the little one laid down for a nap, E and I did a bunch more. We used up the whole package. It’s mildly addicting. Even after we used the last sheet we had ideas for another set – found objects in the house (keys, tools, hardware, lace) or handcut silhouettes we make ourselves and overlay on the paper. We really wanted to get a nicely shaped bug to crawl across the paper. We did manage to sprinkle some sand on the last one. Slowly dropping something large grained might make an image that looks like snow – with the individual “flakes” in varying shades of white.
We pressed the dried sheets under stacks of heavy cookbooks and after an afternoon visit to the garden, we went in search of some simple white frames. We selected our six favorites and framed them late last night. Beautiful.
This is the first in a series of ideas I have for adding some color (and a bit more of ourselves) onto the walls around here. Some involve work from our past, still buried in boxes. Some involve big spaces and require more time than I have right now. These sun prints were a perfect pause to enjoy some downtime, some creative time, some E and me time…and even appreciate our personal jungle a little bit more.