Cyanotype experimenting

I’ve been working with cyanotypes for the last year or so, developing various series of prints. It is a great process for doing one off prints, but of course I decided to try to make editions of certain ones, so then of course I wanted it to become more predictable as to what might come out!

It’s taken me a while to experiment and get together a process to work with to get something like what I imagined. That led me to think about when pricing your work, it is hard to add in all the experimenting and trying out, all the things that went wrong that are not necessarily ever seen. The final piece is usually the result of much trial and error, trying out what might work, what doesn’t, what accidentally worked and you hadn’t even thought about.

Here is a picture of several prints that led to the final (ish) one that I was happy enough with to consider putting it up for sale as an edition. Here you can see various versions of what worked, what didn’t, what I needed to try to make it different. I decided I wanted to add an extra element of colour to the blue print, so tried a bit of bleaching (with soda crystals) which made a nice warm yellow colour. That of course led to new things that could go wrong, and particularly wanting them in the circle format, which means trying not to have too many marks on the white border around! The final prints are 2 layered – the first is a bleached cyanotype circle, and then the circle image of the swan printed on top of this as a standard ‘blue’ cyanotype.

Here you can see how it started as just a plain cyanotype, but still the white area around the circle still had blue wash on it, and didn’t come out very clean. Then I decided to try it with a bleached cyanotype circle underneath, but had to experiment a few times to get the circle to come out reasonably circle like, and not too wonky, then trying out different exposure to get the overlay right. I also tried several different types of paper, and some are exposed in the sun, some under a U.V. light, depending on the weather (I live in England after all!)

You can see the final print for sale on my shop here

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