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  • emmafromont99

Going bigger - fabric cyanotypes

I wanted to make my work with the cyanotypes much more immersive, so I brought in two large bits of fabric (cotton and a synthetic sheer fabric) to prep with liquid cyanotype in the print lab. After prepping and drying them I took them with me to the Tamaki Estuary to expose and develop them on the edge of the shoreline, the same way I did with the smaller A4 sized cyanotypes. Because of the absorbent nature of the fabric compared to paper, it also picked up a lot of texture from the wet sand underneath it and not just from the waves breaking overtop of it, resulting in a patchier almost tie-dye looking outcome. I decided than in order to deeper immerse the works within the site I needed to keep as much of the process there as possible; so instead of taking the cyanotypes back home to finish developing and drying, I hung them over some frames at the boat yard a few hundred metres down the beach where I documented some of the drying process. In doing so, the cyanotypes became somewhat of a performance piece - with a backdrop of the estuary and the boats that reside there, and the movement of the wind making the fabric ripple and dance, I noticed that the cyanotypes often caught the eyes of beach goers and public walking past as they dried. So in a way they were unintentionally being simultaneously created and exhibited within the same ecology.

It was interesting to observe the different ways the two fabrics behaved; the cotton fabric appeared to retain much more of the cyanotype liquid throughout the process and produced a dark, almost velvety looking result, while the sheer synthetic fabric came out much a much paler and softer blue. Out of the two I think I prefer the sheer fabric, largely because of the way it moves and ripples at the slightest breath of air, almost mimicking the movement of the water that created it. It would be interesting to install it in a place where there is lots of air movement; either by a door or window, or in an area that people often walk past, so that it becomes an engaged and active part of the environment in which it is shown in, much like it was when it was being created at the Tamaki Estuary.

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