Imagination takes wing on imaginal cells.
To become a butterfly the chrysalis must undergo a process of liquefaction. It’s one of the mysteries of nature that the cells forming that liquid carry the intelligence to metamorphose into a shimmering butterfly, so different in aspect from the thick juicy ever hungry caterpillar that was the antecedent. Scientists have named them “imaginal cells” for that reason, because they carry the image of the finished butterfly in complete detail. They are exquisitely attuned to the intelligence of nature.
I like to think we have our own imaginal cells which are in a state of readiness, whenever we’re ready to leave the cocoon we have made for ourselves.
So this past weekend I thought we’d try the process of liquefaction in a metaphorical way in the Muse Group by using Citrasolv cleaning concentrate on National Geographics to dissolve the images and create unexpected and delightful papers to use in collage art. The Muses took to it immediately as I knew they would, and I’ll be sharing some of their art as well as my own this week.
The process is simple, although I managed to find some ways to get poor results too! It mostly only works on National Geographic pages in the article portion (not the ads) and only those published after around the 1970’s, which is when they started using clay based inks or something. The Citrasolv has to be the concentrated form not the diluted spray type. You splash or spray it on the pages then close the book and press the sheets together. In about 10 minutes you open it up and start taking out the sheets to dry. Do it outside because it’s very strong-smelling. And now you’ve got some very interesting papers – some of which you’ll want to frame as is! But we used them in a variety of ways for our art journal pieces, as you will see.
This is the second one I did, incorporating some Sumi ink and brush play with two different Citrasolved pages . You can see some ghostly images here from the original photo. While the ink was wet I rubbed around the rock wall image to remove some of the text and add to the mystery.