Yesterday eleven people gathered together deep in the woods at Gibson Mill in Hardcastle Crags for a day of foraging and creating to create these marvelous cyanotypes. The workshop was led by lovely Moira who has a business called Hunt & Gather and makes beautiful products with this fascinating process.
So what is a cyanotype you may ask (as did the man with his dogs that I met in the woods did while I was gathering foliage). It's an early form of photography where light sensitive chemicals are painted onto paper and then exposed to the sun. If you lay shapes on top before exposing, it captures their silhouettes beautifully, sometimes creating ghostly effects.
The chemicals start out green and when they are in the sun they change colour getting darker and darker until after about half an hour (depending on the appearance of sun and cloud) they are cooked and ready to be rinsed...
..and hung up to dry.
It was wonderful to play all day, walking in the woods and looking for great shapes.
This larch caught my eye. Beautiful shapes but they didn't make a very good print as the light got in under the twigs.
Sarah went for delicate plant life.
Sophie experimented with circles
and David with ferns and feathers.
It wasn't all nature though. Caroline experimented with forks and they looked great. Shame I didn't get a photo. The forks came in handy as weights. I wanted to move the ferns around at different stages of exposure to create different intensity so I didn't put glass over the top.
It came out nicely.
We made some cards to take home.
My favourite print of the day was this one. A mixture of my laser cut fritillary and some real plants and grass.
I'm framing that one :)
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day with lovely people, a brilliant tutor, great sandwiches put on from Gibson Mill cafe and loads of fresh air and creativity.
Moira is running another workshop here on the 19th of July and there are some places left if you fancy it. Get in touch. It's so much fun.