Art on the porch

My favorite thing about my apartment is the porch. It is small, and the only furniture on the porch is a fouton, but it is so pleasant to sit on a nice day or night and observe the folks of Somerville. Being on the 2nd floor, the front porch looks out over Park st. I see the busses go by, the guy with a drum attatched to his bike, the homeless guy looking for cans, the girl who is texting while walking, people walking their dogs... I can see everyone, but no one ever seems to notice me. The porch is what I will miss the most when I move on the 1st of September. In an effort to take full advantage of the porch, and because it was a beautiful morning, I decided to do a little art project. I used some left over "Nature Print Paper" from camp to create solar prints. A  solar print is made by lying objects on to a special type of paper. The sun changes the color of the paper and creates images of the objects. It is easy and magical.

How to create a solar print:

1. Collect diverse objects. You can use almost anything. Think about sizes, transparency, shape, shadow. I used: scissors, buttons, paper clip, coins, key, sun glasses, vases, glass bottle, ribbon, tea bag, and sprinkles. I then went for a walk around the block and collected some plants with distinct leaves and stems. You will also need the solar print paper and a tray of water.

2. Decide how you want to arrange your objects on the paper. When you take the paper out of the package the sun will immediately begin to change the paper, so you must be ready to place the objects quickly. When ready, lay the paper flat- blue side up, and place objects on top. The paper does not have to be in direct sun light. The paper will need 2-6 minutes depending on the power of the sun. At camp, on a picnic bench in the sun, it took 2 minutes. On my covered porch it took 5 or 6. You will see the paper turn from a bright blue to a very very pale blue. 


3. When the paper has turned very light it is finished. Take the objects off the paper and immediately emerge the paper in a tray of water. The paper needs to sit in the water for a minute so that the sun can not continue to develop the image. You will notice the colors reverse- the object impressions will turn from blue to white. After a minute, remove the paper from the water and lay flat to dry. 

4. As the paper dries the color will become slightly darker and deeper. I love the final images because they are bold and graphic. The silhouettes remind me of I Spy photos or Man Ray's Rayographs. You could frame these, make them in to cards, or use as wrapping paper! Here are my finished results: