Mixing it up: Cyanotype printing and mixed media approach

Why use cyanotype process?

I love the versatility of the process because it gives me freedom to bring together different elements in an expressive way. (That doesn’t cost the Earth!)

The cyanotype solutions that I use are pre-mixed by cyanotype.co.uk

I mix a capful of each in to a container, approximately 15ml of each solution, in darkroom conditions. You don’t necessarily need a darkroom in the traditional sense, but definitely use as low a light as you can manage.

This basic mix can be applied to most porous surfaces that you may want to put a photographic image on. Including hardy watercolour or acrylic papers, wood, bisque ceramics, stone, egg shells, and natural fabrics.

Go a bit further, and throw that solution in with some gelatin- your average powered gelatin for cooking, and you create a viscous solution that you can apply to smooth surfaces; such as glass or metal. Seriously, cyanotype process encompasses so much!

These pieces I created on watercolour postcards, and have been exhibited in Darlington. They use self portraits I shot in the studio using a self timer. I wanted to use my body in a dance like fashion to explore my connection to Sunderland’s ship building and mining past.

These images I then turned into negatives on acetate so that I could cut them up, and expose the image including ribbons. The works were a quick expressive investigation into my ‘female’ expansion from the male dominated industries. No one in my family has ever been a professional creative, plenty of the male line have worked in the pits or the shipyards. Sunderland still uses these industries in the formation of it’s cultural identity. In such a microcosm of a City built firmly by the patriarchy, where was my place as an independent and creative woman?

I’m not saying I came to any conclusions through creating the works, but it was freeing to consider things in such an abstract manner.

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