Week 25: water/marks

indigo rolling in muslin  indigo folded line

French philosopher Gaston Bachelard described water as “the most favourable element for illustrating themes involving the combination of powers”.[1] He expounds about the “naïve chemistry” of the phenomena of dissolution in water and concludes that “with a little dream added, [it] is the chemistry of poets”.[2]

The chemistry of water and indigo combined is alchemical; surprising, exciting and poetic. Inspired by my previous experiments with dipping paper into indigo dye; this week I folded larger sheets of paper down the centre and dipped just along the fold line. In order to do this, I had to first fold the paper either along its length or width then roll the paper in muslin to dip it in the dye bath.

I  watch as the green of the dye transforms into blue following the drip line as the chemical reaction occurs. The dye creates its own marks upon the paper, controlled only by the depth and time of dipping. Each paper comes out different, a paper poem of indigo and water.

These papers now contain a background blue line referencing the “sound lines” of my earlier sound recording images. The water/sound image is then screen printed onto the indigo dyed paper, as a three colour separation. I was quite pleased with the results!

The complex circular sound/water patterns continue to engage my imagination. Screen printing allows for many variations of colours and combinations, depending on which colour and layer is put down first. I’m keen to see how these circle might also be layered on top of the circular images of the chopped banana plant.

indigo &3colour print
The Poetry of Water (detail)


[1] Gaston Bachelard, Water and dreams: an essay on the imagination of matter) Dallas Institute, 1999), 93.

[2] Ibid.


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