Visiting Artist Conducts Cyanotype Workshop with Students

September 26 2017
Category: The Arts

As part of the “Alternative Photo Process” exhibition on display in the George Waters Art Gallery now through Friday, October 13, Photography I students participated in a workshop on making cyanotypes, or blueprints, with visiting Philadelphia artist, Michelle Cade.

Cade explained to the students that cyanotype printing, a 19th Century photographic process, is practiced by a number of fine art photographers today and is her chosen medium for creating artwork.

The process requires two chemicals to create a photosensitive solution that is applied to paper or cloth. Opaque and semi-transparent objects can be placed on the sensitized paper (or cloth) and exposed to sunlight to create an image (photogram). Artists then develop their prints in water laced with a drop of hydrogen peroxide to reveal dark Prussian blue in areas struck by light and pale blue shapes in covered areas.  

After processing their prints in the photo lab, students visited the George Waters Gallery to see Michelle's cyanotype on silk pieces, as well as the works by alternative photo process artists: Laurie Snyder, John Wood, Betty Hahn and Jean Locey.  

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At the end of the day, students shared their artwork and perspectives on working with Cade and experimenting with the cyanotype process:

“The sentimental value of her work was incredible, from weaving her husband’s book remnants together to stitching her grandmother’s pearl buttons onto the quilt. I really enjoyed learning about this type of art from an experienced artist and being able to view the amazing collection of modern cyanotypes. This is a type of creative outlet that I believe I will revisit myself and hope to explore other artist’s interpretations,” - Jaima Cicero '18

“I would have never thought about putting the photos together and the way she did it was different from anything I have ever seen before. I had never thought about these processes before, but I enjoyed looking at other people's works and seeing how they were able to express themselves in a different way than is normally thought of,” - Emily Ann LaClair '19

“This experience has made art feel more accessible to me in the way of being able to express myself in whatever way I wholly feel. This is something I think I needed in my life as a creative outlet,” - Jordan Newcomb '19

“After looking at the arts in the gallery, I thought anything can be used to create an art. There were arts that used cloth and there were arts that used an actual thing, such as a bird, to make an art. As long as the person, who created the art, consider it as an art, it will be an art. Therefore, art has a potential of being anything that the artist wants to make” - Teni Sasazawa '18