The images in this series were made during the first stay-at-home order at the beginning of the pandemic. My family’s world immediately shrank to our home and yard, and countless walks around our neighborhood with our young daughter. I began pulling out my phone’s camera to capture tiny details in the gardens we passed in much the same way that I would shoot when traveling.
This daily practice soon became an essential way to remain connected to my creative process and the world around me amidst the worry and uncertainty of the pandemic. The photos themselves are a reminder of the beauty and wonder that is always available to us, even during an extraordinarily disorienting and stressful time.
Notes on the Silver Leaf Print Process
The prints from this series that are part of my show Subtleties of Place are meticulously crafted on handmade khadi paper with layers of genuine silver leaf and Japanese conservation tissue. I have developed this technique over the last few years after becoming fascinated with the hand-gilded prints on translucent paper made by Wendi Schneider and Dan Burkholder. This method yields prints with a unique depth and subtle sheen that is hard to convey on screen.
The process starts with printing the photos onto specialized transfer film and letting them dry thoroughly. Next, I prepare the paper for gilding by applying a thin coat of matte acrylic medium. This creates a smooth surface that is ready to receive the adhesive for the silver leaf. After the matte medium dries, I spread a layer of water-based gilding size over the image area. Once this is dry to the point of being slight tacky, I lay down the silver leaf and burnish the surface. The last step in preparing the paper is to place a layer of very thin tengucho tissue over the silver and gently attach it with matte medium.
Once the transfer film is dry and the paper is ready, I spread an even coat of transfer medium on the film and gently burnish it on top of the tissue and metal leaf. After a couple of minutes, I peel off the film to reveal the transfer. As a last step, I apply a layer of acid-free microcrystalline wax to protect the image and prevent the silver leaf from tarnishing.