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Salt water cyanotypes

I love to walk on the beach. Strolling the edge of the water, where the sand is packed down, where the waves dance around your ankles (and maybe higher), searching for washed up treasures is one of my favorite things to do. I haven’t exactly had all that many opportunities in my life to make those kind of pleasant promenades, but I’ve done it enough to yearn for more.

A few years ago, in Port Aransas, after a morning of sitting in stunned silence in a room full of women who were not only more self assured, but also more talented and way more adept at talking about it than I was, I learned about cyanotypes. I don’t recall if I had brought the fabric with me or if some was given to me, but we all went to the beach, Judy produced a dizzying array of booty like mardi gras beads, starfish, and shells, and we made cyanotypes. I had a memory of making “sun prints” with my daughter when she was very young, thanks to a kit someone had gifted her for a birthday or Christmas. Making them for myself, however, was something new. I played around with the technique a little bit when I returned home, then kindof filed it away.

Next came the first World Cyanotype Day, and it changed everything for me. Now, 4 years down the road, I find myself with more stacks of cyanotypes than I know what to do with, and often being the unofficial local champion / spokesperson for the process.

Today is World Cyanotype Day, and a lot of people all over this beautiful planet are celebrating in all kinds of ways. To commemorate it myself in my own tiny corner of cyberspace, I present to you the cyanotypes I made on the beach in Galveston over Labor Day weekend this year. I strolled, I collected, I created - and then I sat in the surf and washed them with the sea!

The above pieces are all cotton fabric, from a grab bag I ordered from Blueprints on Fabric. The ones below I made on paper with treasures from the beach after arriving home.

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World Cyanotype Day has a website, as well as a Facebook Page and Instagram. Please visit them if you’d like to know more! There’s even a Facebook group you can join.