Archive | 23:47

The Blues

11 Nov

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Spent a happy few hours at Swansea Print Workshop this evening experimenting with cyanotype. I want to do some onto fabric rather than paper so I had to try out some different materials and methods of application today. I had three different fabrics; a very lightweight white muslin, a cream coloured stiff cotton and gesso-coated canvas. I cut 2 pieces of each and I dipped one of each pair into the liquid and squeezed it to remove the excess and brushed the cyanotype chemical onto the other. I used up the leftover chemicals on pieces of Somerset paper. Waste not want not.

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I had prepared some acetates as negatives by scanning some of my sketchbook drawings into Adobe Photoshop and inverting them before printing them out on an inkjet printer. I exposed these onto the dried coated fabrics and paper in the large ultraviolet unit at the print workshop for 6 minutes. Then I developed them in cold running water. At first, the prints are a greeny grey, then the blues start to come out. The best results were on the creamy stiff cotton and dipping gave better definition than brusing the chemicals on. The process bleached the cotton from cream to white, which I wasn’t expecting. Now I can begin to construct the final works.

Cyanotype is one of the earliest forms of photography, surviving into the 20th century as engineering blueprints. It’s now crossed over into fine art printmaking.

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