Project Ability was invited to work with a group that meets regularly at the Hidden Gardens. The group is a collective of individuals that access the gardens and participate in workshops exploring horticulture, gardening, cookery and art. The medium of choice for the workshops that took place over two afternoons in August was printmaking. In particular cyanotype printing, which is a photo based process that involves coating a surface (in this case paper and canvas bags) with chemicals that are then left to dry in the dark and become sensitive to UV light… as in sunshine!
Week 1. The sky was overcast with a persistent drizzle of rain and not ideal conditions conducive for working with cyanotype which is a process that needs sunlight! Instead of printing the group prepared the surfaces and painted silhouettes upon which could be placed objects found in the garden, like leaves, ferns, feathers, flowers etc. These objects foraged from the garden would then make shadows that would form a cyanotype print.
Week 2. Heatwave! One week later and a cloudless blue sky. The group spent the afternoon creating collages and montages to arrange on their papers and canvases and expose in sunlight.
You may be familiar with the expression ‘to have the blue print’,.. as in the original, well that is the essence of this process, a form of photo copying that dates back to 1842. A relatively simple process, but one that can produce stunning images… weather permitting!
– Meredith Crone, tutor