Residents of Ashill have been enchanted by specialist printmaking artist Vicki Johnson, who has launched her residency at Ashill Community Centre with a workshop demonstrating traditional Cyanotype printing.
Vicki introduced this fascinating process which combines photography with collage, to create stunning blue prints - with instant results! The drop in session allowed residents to pop in throughout the afternoon to see what it was all about and if they had time, have a go at making their own print.
Vicki chatted over tea and old photos of the village from the Ashill Village History archive, which she had inverted and printed on sheets of acetate. This allowed participants to create collages centred on Ashill; featuring landmarks such as the village signs or the iconic ducks who inhabit the village green. Vicki had also collected small 3-D objects such as feathers and brambles from the playing field, to be incorporated into the work.
So what exactly is Cyanotype?
Cyanotype is a photography process that produces blue prints, thanks to the iron compound chemicals in the solution used. Originally introduced in 1842 by Sir John Herschel, the process was advanced to reduce the exposure times and increase the density range, thanks to a more complicated and toxic recipe of chemicals.
Potassium ferricyanide and Ferric ammonium citrate (green) are separately mixed with water before being blended together in equal parts. The paper or card is coated with the solution, before being dried in the dark. To create the print UV light is required, so objects or inverted photos printed on acetate are placed on a light box, before being exposed for 3 minutes and 20 seconds. To process the image it’s simply rinsed in water to wash away the chemicals, allowing you to see your blue print rapidly emerging from the water. The print is then dried and mounted on proud display!
Vicki’s next workshops takes place on Wednesday 4th October at Ashill Community Centre, so pop in and see what cyanotyping is all about. You can even bring your own photos or small objects (the flatter the better) for experimentation with this amazing process. All prints created by residents will be exhibited on Saturday 21st October, 12pm – 4pm at the Community Centre.
All events are part of the Silver Social artist residencies and are free to attend! Join us for the next event in Ashill or one of the other target villages (Necton, Mattishall, Harling and Shipdham), full details in our Upcoming events.