A few years ago I started playing with cyanotype as I was looking for affordable ways to print my images. By making digital negatives on transparencies I could create printed work from my digital photography, and this process added another dimension to the original image.
My love for the process grew and I have shared it in workshops with adults and children. It’s is a wonderful way to connect science and art and to talk about botany, and great results can be achieved on both paper and fabrics.
Lately, inspired by the wonderful work of Jill Welham, who won IGPOTY 12, I have been playing with the wet cyanotype process, making images with the flowers I collect and press each year, and some fresh vegetation from the local hedgerows and my garden. These images take 4 – 8 hours to develop and make use of soap suds, diluted vinegar, turmeric, paprika, sea salt and baking powder. I have seen interesting results from cling film too, but have chosen not to use this as it is a single use plastic and ends up causing environmental damage.
My latest project with cyanotype is called Fragile worlds, and explores the fragility of the planets ecosystems. I chose to print ephemeral botanical subjects on to broken shells. So far I have only been able to obtain chicken egg shells but I hope as Spring progresses to be able to find some empty wild bird shells in the woods to use.
I am happy to bring cyanotype workshops to venues across the county if you would like to have a go at experimenting. These can be accommodated anywhere with access to running water and sunlight and are great fun for young and old alike.
Shield fern and snakes head fritilary, wet cyanotype on inkjet paper.
3 thoughts on “Cyanotypes”
Hello Jo, I love the wet on wet cyanotype and I have begun to play with it. I am not (yet) getting those shades or nice soft merging of the colours. I have been searching the internet but I have yet to find how to apply the “additions eg tumeric” apart from the cyanotype itself. I love the turquoise and browns but I am unsure as to what is giving these tones. would you be able to direct me or give me some clues.
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I don’t use turmeric, the orange tones come from neat distilled vinegar applied liberally.
I’m totally hypnotised by your work, these colour are unreal ! I’ve tried to make wet cyanotype (adding soap bible and white vinegar) but I never obtain other colours than the blue, which become very very light. Do you think it’s because of the time of exposure which is too short ?
Did you only use white vinegar and soap to obtain the deep brown and turquoise in your « Welsh poppy » ?
It would be very appreciated 🥰🥰