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Category: printing

Carbon Transfer Printing

Reading over the tissue making part, I may have given the impression that time is the overarching expense of this process. Nothing I say in part 2 will dispel that notion. Carbon tissue is a very inexpensive process as far as material costs go, but the overall investment of time can feel a bit conspicuous.

Carbon Transfer Tissues

 This might get long…

I print carbon only a few weekends a year, so I thought it would be worthwhile to make a visual log of the process before I forget it all. I  have a written journal for carbon stretching back to the beginning, filled with meticulous notes of every step and every change along the way.  Not surprisingly, the journal is increasingly tedious to wade through when I decide to make a few prints. So this is an attempt to digest what is working well for me at the moment into a relatively brief overview.

The paper year


Cloister, Catedral de Sta Maria
Carbon transfer on Lanaquarelle

I haven’t done a lot of alt printing lately, but with all the recent remodeling I had to find new space for my stash, and so I took a little inventory.  Also, for some reason this fall my interests have returned to the darkroom with an eagerness that’s startling. Here’s to extending the shortening days with long hours of music and printing. Maybe this is just from some general registry for the tactile, all knotted up with nostalgia for the new school year.  I always thought October was a better start for the new year than January- the fiscal calendar has it right.  Time to find a comfortable place indoors and take stock.  I’ve always loved any craft supplies but paper is special, almost fetishistic. Doing the things that concern themselves with paper as possibly just an excuse to handle the paper itself. Drawing, printing, painting. I quit writing as much when I switched from a typewriter to keyboard.


Beast of burden: 4 layer color print-  cyanotype (C), inkjet (M), gum (Y) and palladium (K) on Cot320

Got some fringing in the trees and leaves from misregistration. Inkjet magenta layer was printed first, the c-type (Ware’s new cyanotype), then palladium (Ziatype) with quick size and a final PY 151 gum bichromate pass. Separations made from digital negatives. All borders masked except zia. Would really like to find an alt processes for magenta- maybe lumen print? Chrysotype? Not quite funky enough with the inkjet layer- almost looks like a straight inkjet with a fake sloppy border.

Still, not quite done with the profiling- c-type and zia curves are a bit off- you can see some magenta poking through in the neutral grays of the sidewalk. Also, I still need to figure out why I ever wanted to make such a thing.


Every so often I re-profile my kallitype negative profile whether it needs it or not. Its good to test printer drift as carts change and things wear on. There are always new things to learn…relearn, too. I’m writing a few notes to help walk myself through the next time I do it.

Library of Congress

Nesjaja Hatali, portrait by Edward S. Curtis

Bored senseless with my own work I made a few prints last weekend with Library of Congress negatives. I’m reduced to a blubbering mass by some of Curtis’s work, and have always wanted to see some of it in carbon.

Carbon transfer on lanaquarelle, pigmented with Lamp Black and Iron Oxide Brown.  Nesjaja Hatali, From the Edward S. Curtis collection. Digital negative made from LoC scan of a damaged original print (brown ink gravure probably printed by John Andrew & Son, Boston). I cropped a bit of the  damage out of the margins but left the bottom to include Curtis’s name and date impression. More info on the original gravure edition here-

A quick cut and paste from Wikipedia on Hatali himself-

Hatali was a medicine man in the Navajo tribe, but soon resisted US expansion into the southwest, alongside Manuelito. Alongside several other war chiefs such as Nova and Geronimo, he was able to use guerrilla tactics to defeat American columns of troops and harass supply lines until the Navajo nation surrendered in 1866. But in the wartime, he was a very successful war leader despite being more knowledgeable in the arts of medicine.


Galley, Kendrick Idaho,  Pigment/ Palladium print

This is a easy process that’s great fun. I’ve used it to combine kallitypes or POP palladium with inkjet.