I started making cyanotypes about five years ago. It is an antique photographic technique that creates blue prints. It’s a very easy process that involves mixing a couple of chemicals together and painting paper or fabric with the photo sensitive concoction. Once dry you can either make an arrangement of objects, like plants or feathers or use a digital negative to place in contact with the photo sensitive material, press in a glass frame, leave out in the sun for a few minutes and then develop with water.
For the first few years I worked only on paper but last year I began to make cyanotype images on fabric which I use in my eco-dyed tapestries.
Last month Daniel sent me an article about a exhibition at the main branch of the New York Public Library entitled She Needed No Camera to Make the First Book of Photographs about the British botanist, Anna Atkins who used cyanotypes 175 years ago to catalogue seaweed and algae off the coast where she lived. I loved the idea of using cyanotype as a kind of natural history record of local plant life. I decided that I would make a few cyanotype images each month for a year and chronicle the plants that live in our garden. Here’s what I have so far:
I began in November with a few prints of late fall flowers from our terrace garden. The faithful cool weather pansy is a local favorite throughout the winter.
The Campanula were still alive as we had not yet had our first frost.
I like the cyclamen as they have semi-transparent white petals which produce a kind of x-ray effect.
December images were a bit more of a challenge since we didn’t have a sunny day until mid-month, and even then the sun is very low in the sky and not strong enough to create the deep blue color you get at sunnier times of the year.
We do still have daisies in bloom.
I was surprised to find a sweet pea branch still alive. It’s not typically what one would expect in December, but there it was, with all it’s attractive curly-qs.
The Daphne is already budded up. It is the first plant of the year to bloom in February. It is interesting to observe how soon it starts to prepare for that.
Have a very pleasant holiday season. I will resume the blog in the new year.