Cyanotype is a photographic process that utilises two iron based chemical, Ferric Ammonium Citrate and Potassium Ferricyanide which when mixed together in a solution can be used to produce a cyan blue print. The process does not utilize a camera but relies on contact printing, where objects, templates or negatives are placed directly onto prepared fabric or paper and are then exposed to UV light; following exposure the paper or fabric is rinsed thoroughly in water to reveal the print. The cyanotype process dates back to 1842 and was discovered and then developed by Sir John Herschel.
I use cotton, silk and a variety of papers to print my cyanotypes onto, each piece of fabric or paper is coated by hand, this must be done away from any UV light and then stored away from any light sources much like traditional darkroom papers. Although UV lamps can be used to expose the print I choose to use the sun, the more UV present in the light the shorter the exposure time; the differing UV light levels and length of exposure affect the intensity of the blue produced, cyanotypes created in Autumn and Spring require longer exposures than those created in the height of Summer. This process allows me to experiment and explore, it’s about letting the imagination run riot and trying things out, the nature of the process involved mean that each cyanotype is an individual, one off piece of work.