Photo: Waiting for the magic to happen. An artistic process that involves sitting in the sun!
Rachel Glynne and Amanda McKittrick facilitated a cyanotype workshop in the print studio with technician Camilla Brown on July 24th.
“Cyanotype is photography related printing process in which we get monochrome images in blue tint. This process was discovered by English scientist Sir John Herschel in 1842. Herschel used this process to reproduce diagrams and notes. It was Anna Atkins who introduced this method for photographic purposes in order to document ferns and other plant life. This process produces a cyan-blue print. Nowadays, engineers use this technique to produce blueprints of plans and other drawings. In this printing, a photosensitive solution is made by mixing potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. This solution is applied to paper and is exposed to ultra violet rays to obtain positive and monochromatic images in tints of blue.” (www.yundle.com)
Cyanotype information sheet with chemical ingredients
Brushing chemicals on paper in the darkroom
“Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was an English botanist and, some argue, the very first female photographer, most noted for using photography in her books on various plants. Having grown up with her father John George Children — a chemist, mineralogist, and not too successful zoologist — she was surrounded by science and also contributed to her father’s work.” (www.publicdomainreview.org)
Viewing the artwork of Anna Atkins.
Amanda brought along many examples of cyanotype to inspire our own experiments.
Cyanotype can be used in outdoor environments in conjunction with art therapy in nature. Foraged natural materials can be printed in natural settings or as part of a walking journey. Talking, writing and photography can accompany cyanotype. Amanda recommends preparing your watercolour paper with chemicals before undertaking art therapy workshops, so that participants can quickly begin to experiment with their found objects, which may hold special significance. The meaning of each person’s objects from home, or foraged natural materials, can be discussed as part of an art therapy group. I wondered if this process could be used in art therapy and bereavement—assembling and printing the objects of a loved one, and talking about their life as it is documented and remembered.
Artist Angela Chalmers and her Cyanotype Portfolio