Photography on fabric?

Back in the Before Times, my friend Merlin and I were planning to go spend a week in Rochester, NY, in a workshop at the Eastman Museum. They offer some wild photography workshops modelled on George Eastman’s early experiments, like making your own emulsions out of silver halides and gelatin. I would have been able to combine it with a work trip and was very much looking forward to it, as well as touring the Kodak factory, but then, well, March 2020, yada yada…

The museum in fact now offers most of their workshops online, including making your own emulsions. However, I don’t really have a lab set-up at home, and the darkroom where I have a membership is ending their COVID vaccination requirements, so… making my own emulsions is probably an adventure for Future Leslie.

Why am I so interested in this, anyway? Well, I’d really like to start combining photography and textiles. I had a lot of fun learning how to silkscreen in a workshop last year and used one of my own photos to make prints on fabric and paper. But I would love to use actual photosensitive media on a textile base, which has had me looking into cyanotype and even ready-made silver halide emulsions that can be brushed onto fabric and processed in a darkroom. Again with the lack of a darkroom, so I may try with the friendlier cyanotype process first (pretreated fabric, rather than mixing up my own solution).

The idea forming in my head is to use some of my own film images, and embroidery, or possibly bring in some maps. I have this vision of a constellation of personally significant sites in Montreal, and I can’t get it out of my head… it seems to be begging to be created.

Watch this space?

February 2020, Toronto
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