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The Cyanotype Process

Cyanotype is an ancient photographic printing process that produces a shade of cyan blue when exposed to ultraviolet light. Ever hear of a BLUEprint?! The process was discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842, and as you can imagine, creating each piece takes quite a bit of time from start to finish. Pieces are first washed and dried. Then Ferric Ammonium Citrate is mixed with Potassium Ferricyanide and applied. I usually dye late at night since the solution is light sensitive once mixed. After drying (which can take anywhere from 3-24 hours depending on the material), it's time to carefully lay leaves, flowers or other objects onto the dyed material. In many ways, this is the trickiest part. Since the fabric will start to change colors almost immediately upon exposure to sunlight / UV light, it doesn't leave much room for error! Also, when dying outdoors, you can't forget to factor in the weather! Cloud cover and wind play a huge factor - my hubby thinks I'm crazy when I run outside like a madwoman each time the sun pops out from behind a cloud. After the greenish dye turns an ugly brown color, the exposure is (usually) complete. I say usually because this part is also pretty tricky - determining WHEN to move everything. Once you remove the leaves, there's ain't no putting them back exactly as they were.  After the dye is completely rinsed out, the pieces are left for another several hours to dry. Then they are ready for their new homes! A lot of trial and a LOT of error, but that is all part of it's beauty. Frustrating? Sometimes. But at the end of the day, cyanotype art is truly one of a kind, and I'm blessed. If you want to see how the reaction happens for yourself, pick up one of our "Kits" in the shop! 

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