I’m a bit puzzled by my ziatype results from yesterday… the contrasty nature of my ziatype sensitizer and the drastic curve needed for correction keep disturbing me. To be sure the troublemaker is not my paper I made more small ChartThrob test prints on several different papers: Canson, Somerset, Saunders… There were differences in tonality and Dmax, but they all showed the same basic character: blocked shadows and quite high contrast.

Then really weird thing happened… I found a few sheets of COT 320 paper; should be excellent for iron processes like cyano, vandyke, platinum, and obviously, ziatype. I decided to make a small test print on it too, and poured my zia sensitizer on the paper, ready to start spreading it around with my brush. It took a few seconds until I started to brush, but in that time the liquid put a permanent ugly stain on the paper. It was impossible to even out, the paper was ruined, and I didn’t even try to expose it.

Sensitizing COT 320, the first try.

The paper behaved like a blotting paper, the solution seemed to sink in and remain there … I made another try with another piece of the same paper… This time I started brushing really quickly after pouring.  Not any better… I could avoid the pouring marks, but the coating was all blotchy and uneven. Didn’t expose this paper either.

(And yes, I am absolutely sure that it was COT 320 paper, straight from the factory package.)

Sensitizing COT 320, the second try.

Anyway, I then made on Guarro one more test print with cesium (palladium) instead of lithium. This gave me warm brown tones, and just a bit lower contrast. There was already a correction curve created for the negative, so the chart tones look quite ok…

A cesium palladium test ziatype, from a tonally corrected inkjet negative.

Basically I have curved my workflow for the neutral lithium palladium and the warmtone cesium palladium, against all odds, and should be good to print some photos now. If there is something wrong with my process, it will be consistently so through this batch of chemicals.

Consistency, I say to myself, will be my ultimate guiding star! 😉

To be continued…