Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cyanotype Images, or Working with Leaves in a New Way

Last summer on a warm, sunny day, with almost no breeze, I played with Cyanotype for the first time. Fabric that has already been prepared can be purchased, and images achieved by exposing them to the light for 15-20 minutes, and then rinsing them in water. The trick is to keep whatever you have placed on top of the fabric perfectly still during that time - no easy task, as I discovered! And whenever the leaves moved, it created a shadow on the fabric.
For my first few pieces, I worked with pressed eucalyptus leaves, maple leaves and willow leaves, and a few other things that were not so successful. Having committed to making a piece for the next Fibre Art Network Exhibit, entitled "Botanical Reflections", it took very little time to decide to work with the eucalyptus leaves for my entry.
I decided to highlight the leaves with a contrasting colour, and chose red. Before I began stitching, I sandwiched the cyanotype print with a layer of thin, wool blanket, and pinned it in place. I don't use an embroidery hoop when I stitch, and the layer of wool gives the piece the stability it needs so it doesn't become distorted.

I began byIoutline-stitching the leaves with #8 perle cotton, and then added the long lines with two strands of embroidery floss. Now I have two of these completed, along with three of the African fabric squares below, in which I had highlighted bits of each with the same red perle cotton that I used in the leaf stitching.
And now comes the fun part - figuring out how to put it all together. There will be a little more red, and a variety of indigo prints, and I'll use improvisational piecing, and see where it takes me. Stay tuned . . .  


  1. Can't wait to see the finished product Pippa!

    1. Thanks Dianne. I'll be sure to put it up here when it's finished.