Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Cyanotype Murals Art Lesson

Since we're focused on the history of architecture, why not talk about the history of blue prints? Did you know that the reason blue prints were originally blue is because architects used the cyanotype process, which was a photography process used in the 19th century. 
When chemically treated paper or fabric are exposed to light and and then rinsed in cold water, they turn Prussian blue. Any parts that block the light remain white. Our Art Class community partner, Georgia College and State University Professor, Matt Forrest, explained the process and provided the supplies. We came up with the images, last week.
When we made our large 5 foot by 7 foot fabric murals, the water turned a light green as we moved the fabric around for a minute or so. The fabric turned blue almost immediately. Parts of my hands turned blue as well, and stayed that way for about a week, so I wore gloves the next time.

Flat paper cut-outs, black sharpie drawings on clear plastic, blue prints and words printed onto old over-head projector sheets, photo negatives, rulers, metal hoops from old bar stools, and even a student provided the shapes and lines that became the finished art piece. It's really a chance to be creative and come up with an idea or theme to present with various objects and images. Because we've been focused on architecture, we used blue-prints from famous buildings around the world, with a silhouette of a couple of students, sitting on an I-beam, as though they were constructing the buildings. 
Another mural had a student in a prom gown surrounded by drawings of plant leaves from stencils, and real plant leaves, with the photo-image of a house cradled in her hand, as if she were making a home from the resources around her. A mix of Mother Earth and a domestic goddess. Holding up the wet 5 foot X 7 foot images and draping them over a brick wall to dry was such a rewarding moment.

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