The Blues

11 Nov


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.

10 Responses to “The Blues”

  1. mrsdaffodil November 12, 2014 at 18:03 #

    Now I know what a cyanotype is! What a fascinating process. The blue is absolutely gorgeous. (I like the feet.)

  2. Anne Downes November 12, 2014 at 10:20 #

    Rose, that’s a really fascinating process – there is something about that colour that carries the story of those engineering diagrams and blueprints and its great to see it used in this way.

    • Rosie Scribblah November 12, 2014 at 20:24 #

      Thank you. It’s becoming very popular as an art form once again

  3. allesistgut November 12, 2014 at 08:36 #

    This is really cool and it looks so beautiful. Great technique! Have a happy day! 😉

  4. Jason Pearlman November 12, 2014 at 06:15 #

    I love reading about processes like this, and the blues coming out of those are nice and rich.

  5. Mary November 12, 2014 at 02:16 #

    I love your cyanotypes, Rosie!
    Have you ever tried adding a drop or two of hydrogen peroxide to the final wash water? Those blues just pop, immediately! Nothing that won’t happen eventually with normal oxidation and drying in a few hours– but if you’re into instant gratification like I am…it’s fun 🙂

    • Rosie Scribblah November 13, 2014 at 07:31 #

      That’s a good tip, Mary. Thanks, I’ll try it. 😊

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