Over the 3 months of lockdown, home bound creatives, both professional and amateur have been putting their hands to some crafty endeavors. Now with the easing of quarantine but still the ever present concerns over infectious contagion, more people are deciding for themselves to continue to self-isolate.
The rise of hobby culture has seen an increase in material sales and online exposure of printmaking. One such method is Cyanotype. This has been hugely popular among home bound artists and professional cyanotype, Ayden Hector, has offered some online tutorials from his East London studio. He outlines the benefits of taking on his classes that add a sense of ‘analogue creative satisfaction’ in a time of digital distraction.
So in the spirit of keeping busy, active and engages whilst avoiding the binge watching distraction of streaming services, here are 4 reasons why Cyanotype printing is for you…
Cyanotype is ridiculously cheap. The simple process of making a sheet of paper light sensitive with use of 2 mixed chemical compounds and a UV light source, notably the sun, the affordability of this process makes it the most accessible of all the printmaking disciplines available. A cyanotype kit comprising of photo emulsion and light sensitizer and a brush cost £12.00 plus PP. This can make 40 sheets of A4 take to your design.
2. No studio required
Cyanotype doesn’t require a specialist studio to carry out the work. This makes for the perfect creative practice for those stuck at home.
Simply having a table to work on, a dark cupboard protected from direct sunlight and of course a space where sunlight can reach the surface of the paper, this is all that is required to make these prints.
Of course having an area or room already set up for manual work like a garage is ideal since there’s little preparation needed to begin any work, but nonetheless, this method has increasingly inspired a lot of aspiring and professional artists alike to take up Cyanotype in a bid to keeping busy and productive.
3. Physical limitations
Since every print will carry the same color (the clue is in the title being Cyanotype) when completed, there has been some criticism of prints ‘all looking the same’! There are huge creative opportunities despite the restriction of Cyanotypes all having the same hue. By simply making a sheet of paper light sensitive, you are effectively able to do anything to block out the light on the paper. Artists try out old negatives or images on acetates placed on the paper in front of the light source. Some even use found objects instead to see what results come of it. And of course, you can go as big as you like since the sun shines everywhere!
4. Portfolio of work
Since the process is largely set in the preparation, most of the time will be used up in mixing chemicals and applying it onto surfaces. Owing to this, there is potential to make large amounts of prints inside one session alone. This is an extraordinary effective way of building a large body of work in a small space of time and in a restricted creative space.
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