June 19, 2021

Cyanotypes & dye-painting fabric

For the past few days I’ve been reading a lot about 1) cyanotypes, and 2) hand dyeing and dye-painting fabric.

Cyanotypes are a super old-school method for making photographic prints, of a sort. The basic idea is that you coat paper with a UV-sensitive chemical, place a photo negative or whatever objects you like on top of this paper, then put it out in direct sunlight for a period of time until the chemical is “exposed”. Where the sunlight hits the paper it turns blue, and where the sunlight is blocked from the paper, it stays white. Of course a zillion shades of blue are possible depending on how much sunlight gets to the paper.

Much to my amazement and delight, it turns out that you can put the cyanotype chemical on basically anything…. including fabric. I am pretty excited about experimenting with this & making some one-of-a-kind art quilts with the results. Or pouches. Or pillows? Totes? Who knows!

Of course, reading about making cyanotypes on fabric got me right back into reading about how to hand dye and dye paint fabric. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for ages now, but I never quite got around to ordering the stuff I’d need. I recently found a fantastic Canadian source for all the supplies, however, so finally pulled the trigger and ordered a basic kit just to play and experiment. Again, the results (whatever they are) will likely end up in one-of-a-kind art quilts (or whatevers….whee).

I’m really really looking forward to playing with all this stuff, and I’m going to document my experiments so I can share them here!