The Chemical Blues Design Collection of cyanotype textiles is inspired by a very old alternative photographic process. More widely known as “sunprints”, the cyanotype process was discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842. It relies upon a cocktail of chemicals, the sun, and water to create the image. Architects and engineers widely used the process to create blueprints well into the 20th century.
I made them for the first time at my teacher’s home, when I first started studying photography. It was a long time before I started working with them again, on my own terrace, in the sunshine. It is a bit of a process, because you have to wear protective gear to mix and coat the paper. It then has to dry in the dark, and when you are ready to expose the images under glass, you need to do that outside. Then, you wash them with water to get this deep Prussian Blue. A trick I use is to tone the prints – believe it or not, with coffee! In this way you can get a lovely deep sepia tone.
In creating these designs I worked with basic household utensils, such as knives and forks, to evoke a certain home feeling while at the same time evoking a contemporary urban feel.
This work forms part of my Urban Art and Design Collection. You can read more about the design inspiration for it here.