Rachel Glynne and Amanda McKittrick facilitated a cyanotype workshop in the print studio with technician Camilla Brown on July 24th.

“Cyanotype is photography related printing process in which we get monochrome images in blue tint. This process  was discovered by English scientist Sir John Herschel in 1842. Herschel used this process to reproduce diagrams and notes. It was Anna Atkins who introduced this method for photographic purposes in order to document ferns and other plant life. This process produces a cyan-blue print. Nowadays, engineers use this technique to produce blueprints of plans and other drawings. In this printing, a photosensitive solution is made by mixing potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. This solution is applied to paper and is exposed to ultra violet rays to obtain positive and monochromatic images in tints of blue.” (

Amanda brought along many examples of cyanotype to inspire our own experiments.

Cyanotype can be used in outdoor environments in conjunction with art therapy in nature. Foraged natural materials can be printed in natural settings or as part of a walking journey. Talking, writing and photography can accompany cyanotype you could even make them into a collage or draw and paint on top of them. Amanda recommends preparing your watercolor paper with chemicals before undertaking art therapy workshops, for best effects doing this the day before you need them as the solution only lasts about a week after it has been put onto the material you have used. Cyanotype can also be used on fabric as well as paper. so that participants can quickly begin to experiment with their found objects, which may hold special significance. The meaning of each person’s objects from home, or foraged natural materials, can be discussed as part of an art therapy group. It could be used at the end of an ecotherapy session so that client has something they can take home to remember session by or be used as a way of documenting some personal objects for them so that they can see them in a different perspective.

Artist Angela Chalmers and her Cyanotype Portfolio


I found the session exciting and playful I didn’t stay to the rules fully letting some overexpose. It was fun trying to find the best light as the sun just keeps moving. I also played with moving some of my objects to get shadowy like effects. There is preparation for this technique but I think kids and adults would enjoy giving it a go. It would be cool to see how one would turn out if you left it in a forest with sun shining through.

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