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Mordançage Workshop with Elizabeth Opalenik
3-day Mordançage Workshop with Elizabeth Opalenik, July 15, 16, 17, 2022.
I vividly remember that first Provence meeting in 1983 when I heard Jean-Pierre Sudre say, “In mordançage you have the possibility….” For the next 30 summers I visited his studio and work discovering them all while learning the process in 1991 directly from this master. In this workshop we shall begin with a brief history of the mordançage process, looking at original work as we gather valuable insight into directions for making it your own creative voice.
Together we mix the chemistry and begin with an instructor demonstration on understanding the test strips to discover proper exposures for negatives and working with photograms, which is the best way to learn the possibilities. Mordançage takes time to master when working with intent and begins with a darkroom print. Information on making negatives, film or digital, and materials to bring shall be sent prior to the workshop. You will discover, when the silver print is put through the mordançage solution, the silver gelatin in the densest areas of the photographic print swell and can be removed with the pressure of a jet of water or cotton ball. Darkroom days will be spent testing various paper and redeveloper combinations, experimenting with oxidation, toners and hand painting to alter color, and deciding to save or not to save the veils. Often, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Papers, chemicals and notebooks with formulas will be supplied.
After more than 30 years of committing to the mordançage process, Elizabeth has many possibilities, pitfalls and discoveries to share. Working collectively with a group of photographic peers, students can combine information on papers available today to further enhance their creativity. Experimenting is highly encouraged. A working knowledge of the darkroom is essential.
As artists, we much each find our way and hope to leave something of value behind. The “draped spidery veils” in the images are my contribution to this process, accomplished by using my breathe or drops of water to preserve and alter the delicate floating silver skin. As such, each piece is unique and truly made by hand even when created using the same negative.