ATV5- Develop textile concepts – Adventures in Cyanotype


Cyanatope is a photographic process that ivolves soaking paper or fabric in a chemical mix and drying in a dark place, placing objects on the surface and exposing to sunlight that. I have mentioned now and again my love of shadows and creating marks using the shadow of an object has been on my to do list for a while . My tutor suggested researching the work of Hannah Lamb . Hannah has used the technique really effectively so I just had to experiment.

I will research the chemicals used more fully , but for now ashamedly  I just dove in with the reassurance that they are not too bad. ( on my last post I promised to research more effectively – I’ve already forgotten where I read this- really must do better)


The dry chemicals arrive in two lightproof bottles that have to be topped up with water and then left 24 hours, apparently the shelf life is quite good.

Equal amounts of each chemical solution are mixed and immediately applied to my selection of paper and fabrics, then dried in a dark place.


Nettles were placed on the fabric under a perspex sheet – I really like the reflections in this photo – may come back to this kind of composition.


The fabric starts off a light green


Quickly turning slate grey – different fabrics at different rates.


When a bronze colour is achieved the plant is removed and the fabric rinsed in water immediately to stop the development of the chemicals.



Then you feel really pleased and excited – what a magical process!

Clearly variables need to be experimented with, fabric type, exposure time, sunlight levels all have an impact on the results. I washed my fabric before treating it , the surface of the fabrics are very varied, i’m guessing the chemicals were not applied evenly.



The process is very effective on paper

In the top right of this photo you can see where the  shadow of  the muslin sample lay over the cotton. I’m looking forward to experimenting with this technique and stitching into the results.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *