Monday, August 22, 2011
I made a second edition of my Louis Pasteur block print. You may recall I made a portrait of Louis Pasteur for a Mad Scientists of Etsy challenge. Though his work was extensive in a variety of fields, I chose to depict him as I see him; a man who saw bacteria in his environment and developed a means of protecting people from this ambient menace. The image is based on a photograph of Pasteur and the background, of course depicts various morphologies of bacteria. I don't know anything in particular really, about bacteria, but morphologies I can understand. Plus, I like his face. You can see his concern in his eyes. And he sticks his glasses in a button-hole in his coat- a interesting touch. Suggests he is thinking about other things. The lino block print is a 2nd edition of nine (some variability in mixed colours) in dark blue and turquoise thermochromic ink on 9 inch by 12 inch (23 cm by 31 cm) Japanese kozo paper.
Thermochromic ink changes colour with temperature. If you heat the print above about 30 C ( 86 F) the turquoise bacteria go white and disappear. It's like a metaphor for pasteurization. Consider these two side by side prints:
Look what happens if I apply heat to either one (with the help of a hair dryer):
The heat makes the bacteria disappear!
I've been thinking about 'smart' materials and using my scientific background to make more interactive, time-varying art. This is my first venture into this area. I've been doing some research about what is out there. There are a lot of interesting inks and textiles, but often they are only really sold on an industrial scale. To make this print, I purchased a small about of thermochromic powder and - after some experimentation - mixed it with block printing medium, or ink extender.