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Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

ROCKHAMPTON CYANOTYPE: A workshop in ‘Blue’

with 2 comments

A Capricornia Printmaker's hand and cyanotype being exposed

A Capricornia Printmaker’s hand and cyanotype being exposed

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Last weekend we worked with members of the Capricornia Printmakers Inc in an investigation of Sir John Herschel’s 1840s historical cyanotype process. The 12 participants spent two days working with a range of shadow making objects and the blue image of the simple ferrous iron.

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The process relies on coating paper or cloth with a chemical made by the combination of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. On drying the light sensitive material has objects placed on it and then exposed in sunlight. Ultra-violet light is required and exposure times may be 8-10 minutes although times may vary depending on the time of year – or day – or if clouds get in the way.

Advanced work uses enlarged contact negatives of photographs made on overhead projection transparencies through laser photocopiers or inkjet printers.

We experienced one day of intermittent sun that worked out well for us. The next day though presented us with thick clouds of tropical cyclone Hadi making the direct sunlight system all but impossible. Luckily we had our A2 UV exposure unit with us that enabled us to continue work indoors regardless of the weather.

We all had a great time and the Capricornia Printmakers pushed the limits of the process and will, with the chemistry remaining, continue having the ‘blues’.

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What follows is a report in images….

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2014 CPi Workshop Flyer.

This goes with that --- selecting objects to image...

This goes with that — selecting objects to image…

Drying a coated sheet

Drying a coated sheet

Cooper+Spowart Cyanotype workshop - PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Nanette selecting stuff to image

Ready for action" Nanette and Vicky

Ready for action – Nanette and Vicky

Cooper+Spowart Cyanotype workshop - PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Exposing a negative of image and text

Exposing the contact frams to the sun

Exposing the contact frams to the sun

Image and text on cloth --- a success!

Image and text on cloth — a success!

Drying coated cloth

Drying coated cloth

Exposing some miniature cyanotypes in fading light
Exposing some miniature cyanotypes in fading light
Peta holding her images close

Peta holding her images close before washing-out.

The Walter Reid Cultural Centre in Bundaberg

The Walter Reid Cultural Centre in Rockhapton – The venue for the workshop

The cyclone track map

The BOM cyclone track map

Rain coming in on Sunday - Not good for sunlight exposures

Rain coming in on Sunday – Not good for sunlight exposures

Aileen with one of her works

Aileen with one of her works

The artists residency @ Walter Reid Cultural Centre

Taking a break at the artists residency @ Walter Reid Cultural Centre after a frenetic Saturday’s workshop

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The workspace cleared and ready for the next time ...

The workspace cleared and ready for the next time …

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All photos © Doug Spowart. Participants are welcome to access their photos…

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2 Responses

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  1. This sounds and looks very interesting. I’d love to try it if you’re doing this workshop in brisbane. I’ll be looking out for what’s happening.
    Thank you Irena

    irena prikryl

    March 11, 2014 at 6:15 am

    • Hello Irena,
      We do plan to do a cyanotype workshop in Brisbane. The cyanotype is such an interesting process for photographers and artists working in other media. We really enjoyed working with these artists from Rockhampton and find that each time we do these workshops new ideas and image possibilities are created. We will keep you informed on our plans. Cheers Vicky and Doug


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