Meet Jenny Stevenson, she's a paper artist and printmaker based in Derby here in the UK. She has a great blog where she writes about the things that inspire her, creative classes she takes and sometimes also about her job as an art technician. It's usually a very colourful blog and I think you should follow it. And be inspired by Jenny! :-)
You can also find Jenny on Flickr and she's also busy creating art for her shop.
Thank you, Jenny!
Please note, the links in this tutorial are to English websites, but you should be able to find the materials elsewhere too! ~ Carina]
You may have heard of the term 'blueprints' – engineers used Cyanotypes to reproduce notes and diagrams like we use photocopiers today. Anna Atkins was the first to use this technique for art photography and she created beautiful nature prints that I have recently seen for sale in Ikea- but now you can create your own!
The equipment you will need is:
Sun-Print/NaturePrint/Sunography paper/Sunography fabric
Objects to place on top of the paper
Kitchen timer or stopwatch
Piece of corrugated card
The first step should be done inside with no daylight – a household light bulb won't affect the paper so I tend to shut the curtains and use a small lamp so I can see what I'm doing.
For flat objects such as lace and leaves I recommend using a clip frame because it keeps the objects in close contact with the paper and prevents them from moving around – they are cheap and widely available and if you're lucky you may even have one lying around at home!
I lay a piece of black paper down first (I find it helps to soak up the light rather than reflect it away) then the Cyanotype paper blue side up. The paper is stored inside a black plastic bag to protect from the sunlight so make sure you close it up after you take each
piece of paper out.
Arrange your objects on top of the paper – sometimes less is more! Then clip the glass on the top. If the objects are slightly too bulky for the clips to go on then you could put some elastic bands around the top and bottom of the frame being careful not to cover the cyanotype paper.
results by putting it on a window sill, I would just leave it 5-10 minutes longer.
Sunny day = 5 minutes
Semi-sunny day = 10-15 minutes
Overcast day = 20 minutes
NB: Set your timer so you don't forget to check it!
When the timer goes off go outside to check on the paper – it should have gone very pale blue on the parts of the paper you can see. If there are 3D objects on the top take them off but the key is to take your paper back inside out of the daylight as quickly as possible as any more sunlight will effect the print.
Submerge your Cyanotype paper into the tray of water and leave for about a minute – you will notice that the light areas become dark, and the dark areas become light.
A few troubleshooting tips
If the print is too light then the paper needs more sunlight - next time increase your exposure time in the sun.
If the print is too dark decrease your exposure time.
If the image came out blurry then there is a chance your objects moved during exposure.
If there is not enough contrast in the print your objects maybe too transparent – experiment with different objects.
The sun/nature print paper is very thin and so does dry with a crinkly surface, the Sunography brand uses watercolour paper so is much more sturdy and so dries a lot flatter. You can also buy Cyanotype kits with chemicals and coating tools which allow you to coat any surface such as paper, fabric and wood and gives a much deeper blue colour.
I love Cyanotypes and I hope this tutorial has inspired you to have a go.
Thanks, Jenny :)
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