Friday, July 01, 2011

Cyanotype Blues

Not only are we lucky enough to have Wendy Addison and Marcia Ceppos of Tinsel Trading come and teach at the chateau this week, we also have the special treat of having Monica, Wendy's daughter, come  and teach us a class on a 19th century photographic printing - known as cyanotype.
"The English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschell discovered this procedure in 1842. Though the process was developed by Herschel, he considered it as mainly a means of reproducing notes and diagrams, as in blueprints. It was Anna Atkins who brought this to photography. She created a limited series of cyanotype books that documented ferns and other plant life from her extensive seaweed collection. Atkins placed specimens directly onto coated paper, allowing the action of light to create a sillhouette effect. By using this photogram process, Anna Atkins is regarded as the first female photographer."
Monica took us down into the cave below the chateau to coat the paper and then the following day, we exposed all sorts of treasures onto the treated paper - botanicals, stencils, lace and even old negatives we had found at the flea market.  The process was magical and the color was a magnificent cyan blue.  Our workshops at the chateau this week have been inspiring - and with each one we are learning more about how people made do with what was available to them to create beautiful works of art.


nonnie said...

love, love, love this shade of blue...what a wonderful with envy...

Lee said...

I love the botanical prints! Beautiful blue! thanks for sharing!