Tag Archives: blueprints

Blue Sunday

20 Sep

2 heads

A while back I began a new piece of artwork, quite an ambitious one using some of my sketchbook drawings of older women and a Victorian corset pattern to create a 3D piece in cyanotype, an archaic photographic technique. I cut the pieces from some lovely Somerset Velvet paper, 12 in all, and scanned and printed some of my drawings onto sheets of acetate (after reversing them in Photoshop so they are negatives). Yesterday, I coated the pieces of Somerset with the cyanotype chemicals and put them to dry overnight in a lightproof cupboard. And today I took them to Swansea Print Workshop to develop them in the UV Unit.

After exposing them for 6 minutes, I washed them face down to start the developing process then turned them over – you never know if it’s worked until this point. I’m delighted with them. They were drained for 10 minutes then I put them between sheets of tissue paper between low-density fibre drying boards.

washing 2

Next step is to assemble them and get them ready for the exhibition. More about that tomorrow……..

Blue Birds

17 Nov


I carried on with my cyanotype experiments. I have always used an ultraviolet unit to expose them in the past, which takes about 6 minutes. I wanted to see if I could expose them with natural light so I sandwiched two negatives between pieces of chemically treated paper and a sheet of glass and left them for 1 hour 45 minutes in a window in the afternoon sun. I’ve been told that it’s quicker in summer, around an hour.


I developed them in cold water in the sink and I’m quite pleased with the results. The original images were small sketchbook drawings I did of pigeons some years ago. I scanned them and using Adobe Photoshop, reversed the image horizontally, inverted it into a negative and resized.

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.

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