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"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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Sunday, July 30, 2023

Cyanotype Printing


Summer holidays is when I get the chance (and energy!) to take some art workshops. I'm lucky to live in a large city which has a couple of galleries that offer FREE workshops. 

This was a great cyanotype workshop I took one afternoon. It was actually for kids and their parents. I don't have kids so took (forced) my *somewhat* willing niece, lol. 

They provided all the supplies and great instruction.

They used pre-bought cyanotype paper. I can't wait to buy my own chemicals so I can paint it onto watercolour paper to get that cool jagged rough painted edge.

The process involves mixing two chemicals: potassium ferricyanide and ammonium citrate to create a photosensitive solution. This is then applied straight after mixing to an absorbent surface (paper, fabric).
But this pre-painted paper is convenient for classroom use for sure. 


Traditional cyanotype is a camera-less photographic process that produces beautiful Prussian blue prints. This process was discovered by Sir John Hercshel in 1842, and was used as a means of reproducing drawings and diagrams (blueprints).

In the mid-nineteenth century, artist and botanist, Anna Atkins brought the process to the attention and imagination of the public when she produced a series of cyanotype prints of seaweeds. She placed the algae specimens directly on to photosensitised paper creating a silhouette effect, known as a photogram.


They started with a slideshow showing examples from contemporary artists. The creative possibilities of objects that they used was amazing!!



We were shown all the objects we could use for our print. They encouraged the use of transparent glass pieces, seen below. These were convenient because they were heavy, and would not blow away in the wind (my city is VERY windy). Otherwise, for the typical botanical and feather prints, you each need to have a piece of glass to put over your print so the pieces don't fly away. 


On the back of our paper, we were told to write the exposure time down- this would show us how to get the richest blues. Go from 5 min to 10 min. This was full summer sun. 


Place your paper on cardboard (so you can carry it easily outside) and put your glass pieces on top however you want. 


Place in full sun and set your timer.




Bring back inside, remove the glass pieces and then place in a water bath.
They also had a bin filled with diluted hydrogen peroxide- this really speeds up the process.


So they had two bins below- one with water and then hydrogen peroxide. I forget the ratios unfortunately. 


Then leave your print to dry on newspaper. Overall a really cool and fun art project!


 

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