Cyanotypes

The sun is getting brighter every day so it’s time to put in an order to Photographers’ Formulary for ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide so this years’ cyanotype printing can begin. Since I sun print in my garden and not in a darkroom, the strength of the sun is a deciding factor for printing. I used up the last of my chemicals in late October and now the sun will soon be strong enough to start making cyanotypes again. Cyanotype Printing

What is a cyanotype? The oldest, or at least one of the oldest, photographic processes originating in the 1850s, cyanotypes are made using an iron-based process. (Black and white photos are printed with a silver-based process.) A fun fact is that this process was the one used by Anna Atkins who is recognized as the first female photographer. A botanist, she made brilliant blue photograms of plant life.

In the digital age, cyanotypes aren’t common. And those created by photographers using alternative processes are usually printed on paper. What makes my cyanotypes a little unusual is that I print them on silk so I can incorporate them into fiber art. Mixed media/fiber art themes using cyanotypes include Dakota Memories and Unlearning War/Fear of Other. Cyanotype Images

A shout out to other cyanotype printers. What’s your practice? Do any of you print on silk?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilda September 30, 2017 at 4:29 pm

I have recently started experimenting with cyanotype printing on fabrics. I have used cotton and silk. I am also going t experiment with printing on rayon. My goal is to use the fabric in constructing clothing.

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Doroth Mayer October 6, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Another maker of cyanotypes! So happy to hear from you. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond but I’ve been making new cyanotypes—I work on silk and started printing 18″ x 24″ from photos I’ve manipulated. If you’d like, you may send images. I’d love to see them. Also, if you send your email, I’ll include you in my monthly newsletter. There aren’t a whole lot of us who print cyanotypes on silk, so it’s always great to connect with another. And let me know if you have any questions.

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