So I’m going to really try to be better at this blog thing…and post at least once, if not twice a week. I’m going to share my adventures (including such events as going to Myrtle Beach, trips to Ocean City, and white water rafting the New River in West Virginia) and my Interests (NASA, Airshows, Hapkido, and photography including black and white film and even exploring wet plate (ambrotypes) and Cyanotypes). Come along with me and maybe we’ll all learn something together!
So recently I’ve been introduced to the world of Cyanotypes…and blue being my favorite color, it really intrigues me. I know that I have only started to experiment with them, but I’ve had fun with my experiments. It all started on November 29… at least my own experiment. John Milleker had told me a bit about them and had bought the chemicals and experimented with different papers to see which worked best for this process with me present. Water color paper seemed to do the best in the experiments, so we each painted a few pages. I took my papers home to experiment with. The first time I tried to expose the paper, I just did one sheet.
First what is a Cyanotype? It is a way of photo processing involving placing photosensitive chemicals on a canvas (which can be paper, fabric, eggs, or whatever you dream up that can hold onto the chemicals), then placing an image over those chemicals so that the image will imprint upon the canvas, then exposing those chemicals to sunlight to “develop” the image, and last one needs to rinse off the photosensitive chemicals so see the final image.
Heirlooms was my first experiment, and it was me placing objects on the paper that was painted with the Cyanotype chemicals. I named this Heirlooms because all the objects were from my grandparents. There was a couple broaches, a neck tie, a string of beads (that made a great looking pearl necklace on the final draft!), a pipe, and a letter opener. I liked seeing what turned out really well, and what didn’t.
The next time I experimented I had a wonderful idea, I’d take pictures of each step. I had multiple sizes of paper, so approached each piece separately, as it’s own unique piece. These pictures show some of the smaller pieces mixed into one photo. I took some of the paper that already had the chemicals on it and designed what I wanted on it. Then I took photos of the layouts.
After that I put them out in the sunlight of my sidewalk for about one hour in the end. I truthfully didn’t time it all out. I then took pictures of the exposed paper.
The final step of the process is to rinse off the chemicals and see what the final Cyanotype looks like. The final outcome is not totally done until the paper dries.
I can’t wait to see what else I can do, especially working with transparencies and my photographs. The artsy side of me is thrilled to be able to mix the photographer in me with my creative spirit! I will continue to experiment with paper for now, but I can foresee a future experiment using fabrics or even egg shells. The fun part of all this, is that this is only the beginning. The options from here are almost endless!