This collection of limited edition prints celebrates the musical history of London’s iconic Rainbow Theatre 1971-1981 with re-imagined art.
2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the rebirth of the iconic Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park, London, a venue that audiences loved as much as the incredible artists they flocked there to watch.
From 1971 to 1981 this venue crammed in gigs featuring every name that counted in music. No self-respecting act’s CV was complete without at least one date at what quickly became a venue of mythical status – the list of those having plugged in and strutted across its legendary boards is an A-Z of 70s music greats.
AC/DC, Bob Marley, David Bowie, The Clash, Fleetwood Mac, Iron Maiden, James Brown, The Jacksons, Pink Floyd, The Ramones, The Who…
Astonishingly given how cherished it became, the former Finsbury Park Astoria was only at the cutting edge of live music for one short decade. The stars that burn brightest burn quickest…
45 Original is the vision of Bruce Fisher and Simon Collett, design directors and founders of Tour Design, leading creative agency in the UK live entertainment sector. 10% of Rainbow Theatre Retrospective Edition sale profits are donated to the Music Venue Trust #SaveOurVenues campaign.
Four unique designs from artist and designer Steve Mitchell of Fiftseven Design capture the Rock, Soul, Punk and Reggae music legends to have performed live at the venue in just one stellar decade before it closed its doors.
Working as a graphic designer since 1998, Steve has created and overseen advertising design for festivals such as Latitude, Reading and Leeds, Sounds Of The City Manchester, Country To Country and The Big Chill, and live campaigns for major acts including Eminem, The Black Keys, Burt Bacharach and the Spice Girls.
As well as acting as a Senior Design Consultant for Tour Design, he can be found working on logo and identity design, producing elaborate typography for magazine covers as well as album artwork and t-shirt designs.
Steve also produces fine art, illustration and street art under the pseudonym Fiftyseven, having developed a unique style he likes to call Neo-Victorian Maximalism.
On his 45 Original collaboration he says, “As a graphic designer with a particular interest in music and typography the Rainbow Theatre brief is the most fun I’ve had for a long while. Working on these designs I was constantly thinking ‘I wish I could have seen so many of these shows!’”
Rachel Sodey is a Suffolk based artist and printmaker who responds directly to the landscape around her. Rachel walks the Suffolk countryside with her dog Bo and draws inspiration from the flat land lines, the changing light, and the mood and feelings of the seasons. We are delighted to introduce a selection of her prints, created using a variety of textural printmaking techniques. In this interview with Rachel we get a little insight into her work and find out more about her process.
How long have you been printing for? When did you start out?
My first real experience of printing was at The Norwich School of Art where I studied a degree in fine art textiles. My favourite workshop was the print room and I definitely spent most of my time in there. The technicians were absolutely amazing and taught me so much. At Norwich I mostly worked with screen printing and free-hand embroidery. It was only when I started teaching at West Suffolk College that I rediscovered my love for printing through teaching it. I have the freedom to teach all aspects of printmaking and this is what drives my own work forward.
What is it about the Suffolk landscape that inspires you?
I am definitely obsessed with the flat fields of Suffolk and the clear horizons. Even from a young age I have had favourite fields and just cannot stop photographing the perspective lines.
A lot of your prints take an unusual circular form; how did that come about?
This was by accident really. I had written a project for my students and set the parameter that they all had to produce art work within a circular form. In one particular lesson in the print room, I demonstrated to the students how to create an intaglio plate on a circular piece of drypoint cardboard. When I put it through the press I was really happy with the outcome. This 10-minute demonstration inspired a whole new series of work. Most of my prints evolve from little experiments.
Tell us about the process creating your prints and how you create your plates
I mostly work on drypoint cardboard and make marks onto the plate by using a craft knife. I also have the choice to peel away layers of the cardboard which will hold the colour of the ink (just like the engraved lines) when I print it. The shiny surface of the plate also allows me to create mono prints as well. I am able to choose how much ink to leave on or wipe of the surface, this makes the printing process very exciting as I am never quite sure how each print will turn out.
You talk about the inking process being part of the experimental nature of the printing. How does the process of printing influence the end result?
There is so much to consider when printing a plate. I use the scrim to wipe the ink off the plate once it has been pushed into the engraved lines that I have made. The scrim then also becomes a tool to add movement to my prints – it is a painterly approach really. Although I have a certain amount of control that influences the end result, there are other factors at play such as how damp the paper is and the pressure the press is set to. I am just never quite sure how effective a print will be until I peel the paper away from the inked up plate.
You mention walking, where is your favourite place to walk?
My favourite place to walk is getting lost in the fields in the village where I live in Suffolk. After about 10 minutes of walking I am able to let the dog off the lead and I am just surrounded by fields. Lately on my walks I have been seeing a heron in one certain field which is completely amazing.
Have you found lockdown influencing or changing your work in any way?
Teaching online during lockdown has definitely been challenging so this has left me with less time than normal to get out in my studio. I think lockdown has made me appreciate the ability of being able to escape in my printmaking more.
Whats your favourite takeaway (food)?
Well normally I would definitely say my favourite takeway is a good old vegi curry, but I must say that lockdown has made me crave for a big fat juicy halloumi burger with fries.
It’s been bitterly cold on the London streets outside Of Cabbages and Kings. We have had snow, ice, and freezing winds and were chilled to the bones. So to remedy that we have brought together a collection of gift ideas to chase away the frosty weather. Think of this as a visual mug of hot chocolate. Grab a blanket, get cosy and read on.
We may be longing for those summer holidays so let Marcelina Amelia take you there with this screen print. She describes this print as a cure for seasonal affective disorder, and came up with the idea lying on a beach being bathed in the sun. The warmth of peachy circle in the middle inviting you to dive right in. This print will definitely see you through the winter months until summer comes back around.
Why not warm up from the inside with one of nature’s hottest foods? The spicy chilli pepper! Illustrated with an array of facts about popular chillies from around the world the towel includes a taste guide, Scoville heat unit, and ripening colour. Since Columbus brought chilli peppers back to Europe five hundred odd years ago, we’ve been obsessed with these flavourful pods of heat; it’s no surprise that they’re one of the most influential spices in world cuisine.
Is that too many chillis in the belly or the fire of life burning inside this character? With striking painterly detail, Tom Berry has built up a combination of blues, yellows and oranges to represent the fire of one’s life force burning strongly within us warm blooded humans. An inspirational print to encourage ambition.
You can’t get sunnier than an orange! This Mini Orange Necklace sings of the essence of a Mediterranean summer. The bright little fruit is made with recycled orange and gold mirror acrylic leaves, and hang on a silky gold plated snake chain.
Sunny Morocco is depicted in this warming screen print by Caitlin Parks. The hazy desert heat and light of a rocky landscape is offset by arched shapes of buildings and the outlines of palms, while overlapping layers of orange and yellow bring the sunshine inside.
Nothing beats a juicy peach on a hot day! These summer fruits have been depicted in warming pinks and oranges in this risograph by Melissa Donne. Inspired by traditional botanical illustration, Melissa first sketches and then develops her prints digitally before printing.
Did you know that Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system? Roderick Vere’s Planetary Collection takes its inspiration from the planets. This Venus Ring is crafted by hand and finished with a satin sheen. A 22ct gold plating covers the dome and completes this striking fully hallmarked piece of jewellery.
A hot sun rises in this evocative screen print by Gavin Dobson. The magical scene uses the classic printing colours of cyan, yellow, magenta and black to expresses the beauty of sunrise in an abstracted landscape.
They say a picture speaks a thousands words, so why not let that picture speak a thousand words of love? With this post we bring together some of the most heart warming prints at Of Cabbages and Kings.
Two lovers embrace with a kiss – ‘Home’ is with someone you love. This couldn’t be better represented than in Anastasia Beltyukova’s risograph print Love Is Finding Home In Another. The print is from a series titled ‘I Am Home’ and was created for an exhibition exploring the theme of home and identity and the parallels between them.
Artist: Anastasia Beltyukova Medium: Risograph print Size: 340mm x 460mm Edition: Signed limited edition of 25
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are! What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
Sail away with your loved one. This hand printed, limited edition silkscreen print by Freya Cumming, A Year And A Day, takes its inspiration from the famous Edward Lear poem, The Owl and the Pussycat. This nonsense poem starring an unlikely coupling and their romantic adventure, it is often recited at weddings. Freya has hand finished this print with gold and silver leaf to add an extra layer of magic.
To read more about artist Freya Cumming see our Q&A on the OC&K Blog.
Artist: Freya Cumming Medium: Screen print with gold and silver leaf Size: 460mm x 460mm Edition: Signed limited edition of 34
Distance is no barrier to love. You may be far away, but your kindred spirit is always close. Poles Apart But Very Much In Love is a limited edition giclée print taken from one of Sarah Beaton’s original watercolours. Inspired by her childhood in Scotland: scaling mountains, exploring forests and living by the sea, Sarah’s abstract brush strokes create a landscape, evoking a sense of place in which she adds a solitary figures to create a narrative.
Artist: Sarah Beaton Medium: Giclée print Size: 406mm x 305mm (12″ x 16″) including mount Edition: Signed limited edition of 50
Two figures guard the heart and keep the flames of passion burning. Guardians Of The Heart is a bold two colour screen print by Johnathan Reiner. A strong and poetic design in red and blue. As long as the guardians remain the life force burns inside them.
Artist: Johnathan Reiner Medium: 2 colour hand pulled screen print Size: 297mm x 420mm (A3) Edition: Signed limited edition of 100
Liz Loveless of Factory Press creates beautifully illustrative and expressive prints in a variety of mediums. Two tap dancing shoes are surrounded by a whole host of collaged elements. Umbrellas, raindrops, lamp posts and even musical notes fly around them, bringing to mind the famous Gene Kelley film Singing In The Rain.
To read about our tour of Factory Press visit the OC&K Blog.
Artist: Liz Loveless / Factory Press Medium: Screen print and collage Size: 500mm x 700mm
Two bodies lie as if they are sunbathing with arms around each other and a snake draped over their shoulders. This striking screen print by Marcelina combines her distinctive drawing style with the intensity of bright neon colours. Their backs to us the figures display peachy bums. Knickers or tan lines? Their pink skin hotly glows.
For an insight into Marcelina Amelia’s process see our interview with her on the OC&K Blog.
Artist: Marcelina Amelia Medium: Screen print with copper foil Size: 500mm x 700mm Edition: Signed limited edition of 35
The 29th – 31st of January is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. This annual event which began in 1979 is claimed by the RSPB to be the ‘world’s biggest wildlife survey’. During these three days the RSPB are encouraging us all to look out of our windows and record the birds we see. This valuable birdwatching data is used to record the population of different bird species in order to track their numbers, and aid in the preservation of some of our most loved garden visitors.
Birds are inspiration for many artists and makers. Here we take a look at some of our feathered friends found nesting on the shelves and in the print racks at Of Cabbages and Kings. And you might just learn a few fascinating facts along the way!
Caitlin Parks takes a look at some of the more characterful small birds in this graphic black and white screen print reminiscent of traditional woodcut illustration.
The Blackbird (top right) adult male has sleek jet black plumage which is instantly recognisable. Usually nesting in bushes or hedgerows, they feed on insects and earthworms pulled from the ground.
The Bullfinch (bottom right) is a secretive bird who hides amongst dense branches. With a short beak it feeds on seeds and buds of fruit trees. It will also feed from seed feeders and suet balls hung in gardens.
A vibrant screen print by Anna Marrow featuring a glitter covered gold topped bottle of milk. Showing a more mischievous side to this little garden bird.
The Blue Tit is a small familiar friend in the garden. Feeding on aphids, beetles and caterpillars, it is one of the most agile and acrobatic birds and well suited to hanging upside down from feeders. It nests in boxes or holes in trees.
This ornate owl giclée print by Lauren Mortimer is taken from one of her highly detailed graphite drawings. The bird’s wings camouflage a mass of butterflies or perhaps moths flocking to the moon.
The Barn Owl with its iconic heart-shaped face is mainly nocturnal and many will only ever see a fleeting glimpse. Probably more familiar are its blood-curdling night time screeches. Feeding on rodents it hunts over open countryside.
This pretty screen print by Freya Cumming in pastel shades shows a proud Chaffinch sat on a blossom filled spring branch.
The Chaffinch is the UK’s most common finch, with a pink breast and white wing bars. It feeds on seeds and insects and is more likely to be seen on the ground scratching for fallen seeds rather than from hanging feeders themselves.
Steve Mitchell of FiftySeven Design creates heavily ornate and detailed screen prints. This two colour silver and black screen print captures a crow in flight.
The Carrion Crow has black plumage, black beak and legs, and has a wingspan of between 84 – 100cm. They are also one of the smartest birds. With a noisy call and solitary lifestyle they are often cautious when entering gardens. The crow feeds on carrion, insects, worms and also forages for scraps.
Chris Andrews’ series of vintage inspired bird screen prints feature characterful illustrations of some much loved birds like this Green Woodpecker.
The Green Woodpecker is the largest of the woodpeckers found in Britain. Its favourite food are ants, which it digs up from the ground rather than pecking at trees. Vibrant green with with bright red on the top of its head, it nests in the hollows of trees.
These abstract bird shapes are inspired by Doves, the symbols of peace and love. Designed by Pivot these pieces are produced by homeless people. Pivot provide coaching, financial support and guidance to create swifter pathways out of temporary accommodation.
A common Dove found in the UK is the Collared Dove, named after the black band that sits at the back of their necks. Their familiar monotonous cooing can be heard in gardens and towns and they are frequent visitors to garden bird tables, picking at the seeds knocked to the ground from bird feeders by other birds.
A mass of brightly coloured birds, perhaps Starlings chatter amongst the branches in this giclée print by Adam Bartlett. This print is taken from one of Adam Bartlett’s paintings in which he uses acrylic, emulsion, enamel and spray paint to build up multiple layers and textures.
Starlings are noisy little speckled birds and spend most of their time in large flocks. They are common visitors to gardens and famous for their murmurations – Acrobatic displays of large flocks, that form in autumn evenings before taking roost in the trees.
Julio Guerra creates coloured brightly coloured giclée prints of tropical birds. This Ring Necked Parakeet has found a new home in the South East of England and can be seen flying in noisy flocks.
Ring Necked Parakeets are the UK’s only naturalised parrot. Bright green with a red beak and a black ring around its neck which gives it its name. They visit gardens in the South East of England where they will eat seeds and berries.
Liz Loveless of Factory Press creates beautifully illustrative and expressive prints in a variety of mediums. This impressive, large Cormorant stands proudly. Its out stretched wings made of screen printed feathers and other mark making.
The Cormorant can be seen along rivers and costal areas, usually with wings outstretched, drying them in the sun. It is also an expert fisher.
We have some stylish ways you can encourage British birds into your garden.
The Birdball Seed Feeder by Green&Blue is designed to provide garden birds with a varied and reliable source of food. Made in the UK from slipcast clay, this simple and stylish design is frost resistant and offers safe, year-round feeding for birds such as tits, sparrows, finches, woodpeckers and nuthatches.
The Birdball Belle Feederhas been designed to hold both large and small fat balls, fruit and kitchen scraps, it can also be used to hold nesting material such as wool. The feeder allows small birds such as tits, sparrows, nuthatches and finches to feed while deterring larger birds.
London, The Big Smoke! Love it or hate it our capital inspires so many of our artists. From its architecture and people, to all its different boroughs – London is huge! This city of 9 million people has something for everyone. So with this post we have highlighted a few artists that look at different aspects of the city. These London themed prints make great gifts for those that live here and also as memories for those who have moved away.
Marc Gooderham is fascinated by shop fronts, street corners and a forgotten London. His pastel works and paintings presented as series of limited edition prints explore the city’s streets along with its decaying and unique architecture. They capture the singular beauty to be found in those neglected and overlooked spaces.
Liam Devereux is a commercial illustrator, originally from the north of England and now based in London. He has created work for American Express, Lloyds Bank and Audi among others, whilst developing a unique style in his spare time. The Nighttime Series comprises of scenes largely around North London where he has lived for the last ten years, but has begun to spread further afield.
Mike’s drawings are produced digitally using a combination of design software and a pen tablet. The designs for the maps were inspired by engraved prints from the 19th century that Mike has appropriated with a contemporary twist.
Will Clarke meticulously develops intricate landscapes and views of Britain’s cities and most loved locations. Will’s work primarily focuses on location and place, which he explores through a range of mediums including printmaking, architectural drawing and design. He characteristically uses bold graphic additions of colour to add different dimensions to his illustrations.
Jane Smith is a freelance artist and commercial illustrator based in Dalston, East London, working in design, advertising, editorial, publishing and charities. Often inspired by travel and cityscapes, her personal work crosses over media and disciplines, from to digital sketches and drawings, to wood engraving and linocut.
Underway Studio is an illustration and printmaking collective based in Brixton, South London. Founded in 2015 by six graduates as a space to continue working and developing as young designers, the collective works collaboratively across silk-screen, lino and digital print mediums. The current members of Underway Studio are: Aiden Barefoot, Anna Schmidt, Caitlin Parks, and Melissa North.
This post is dedicated to all things olfactory at Of Cabbages and Kings. While we stock a range of aromatic home fragrances to keep your house smelling beautiful, also included in this post are some not so smelly, but equally as nosey gift ideas. Follow your nose though this curated selection of gift ideas.
Hobo + Co candles are hand poured in small batches in Lincolnshire, England. They are made from soy wax which is a healthier alternative to traditional to paraffin wax candles. Cleaner burning with no toxins or carcinogens, soy gives off less soot and burns at a cooler temperature, so the candles last longer. Each candle has approximately 35 hours burn-time and available in four different fragrances.
Karina Bank’s Anatomy Collection, designed for empowered women, is inspired by the unique and beautiful irregularities of the female form. Each piece is handcrafted sustainably in Karina’s Tottenham based studio from sterling silver.
These abstracted nose-shaped earrings are made from 2mm sterling silver round wire, offering an alternative to traditional hoop earrings. A humorous design that is minimal and stylish. Their irregular handmade design means each one is very slightly different.
Hobo + Co’s collection of room mists are a great way for helping cleanse and refresh your home. Naturally scented with a blend of pure essential oils they are vegan and paraben free. Available in three different fragrances and blended from pure essential oils in a 100ml recyclable amber glass bottle.
These comedy glasses attached to a classic fake nose. It may not be very good for smelling, but this image will certainly put a smile on your face. Look further and you will see Lauren Mortimer has hidden three cats in the bushy eyebrows and moustache of this peculiar disguise.
Taken from one of Lauren’s original graphite drawings and printed on Hahnemuehle German Etching (matt textured) 310gsm paper.
In her series of screen prints Phytology, Tal Brosh illustrates the history of the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. These prints explore the reserve’s life from a medieval meadow and market garden, through to a Victorian church, a war-time bomb site and now an apothecary garden. Phytology 2000 looks at the nature reserve’s now apothecary incarnation – where aromatic and medicinal plants grow. Bring a breath of fresh healing air into your home.
If you’re feeling adventurous why not conjure up your own scented candles? These little DIY, Make Your Own Candle Kits are an enjoyable way to spend a relaxing few hours. Each kit makes two small votive candles that will burn for roughly 15hrs each.
Contains soy wax flakes, fragrance oil, glass jars and wicks. The simple instruction leaflet explains exactly how to make your candles with ease. A thoughtful gift for any creative candle-loving person.
Fresh green leaves and spring bulbs are starting to appear around us. The days are lengthening and blue skies shine above. Spring is such a lovely time of year and what with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday 22 March there are plenty of reasons to bring a spring feel into your home, or give a gift with some springtime inspiration.
Spring is the time of year colour returns to our life. Slowly at first with gentle pastel tones, until the riot of hot summer takes over. It’s fresh and has a hint of warmth that banishes the memory of cold frosty mornings. Flowers begin to poke their heads out of the earth and there is an energy in nature. Freya Cumming’s work speaks of spring; her eye for gentle colour complimenting the season. This screen print titled Village Politics with its ‘best in bloom’ is finished with gold and silver leaf and is a great way of adding a bit of bright country style to any room.
Polka dots still seem to be a firm fashion favourite and could be seen in the spring collections of some of the most well know fashion designers like Dries Van Noten’s collaboration with Christian Lacroix and Carolina Herrera. Your favourite spotty outfit needs a spotty accessory. These Form Circle Earrings from Tom Pigeon in Blush add a cool edition of colour to your outfit. A combination of Formica and brass they are perfect for any time of day or night.
You can’t have spring without fresh leaves appearing on the trees. This clock features a hanging willow branch pattern, evoking the dappled shade of sitting under a tree. Made from laser-cut, powder-coated steel, it features a quiet quartz mechanism and stamped aluminium hands. A minimal yet stylish way to celebrate nature.
Speaking of leaves, these leaf bookmarks by Another Studio just had to be included. They make the perfect little gift for a plant lover and feature the leaves of Maranta Leuconeuraia, Peperomia Argyreia, Caladium Bicolour and the Begonia Maculata. Celebrate the season of growth.
It’s the time of year we start thinking about our gardens, (or any little space we may have set aside for growing things). If you are conscious of all the plastic used in the garden then this is the perfect way to go. Giving you the ability to produce recyclable and biodegradable newspaper pots for starting seedlings. These pots can be planted straight into the ground minimising damage to the roots of young plants. To read more about how they are made check out our ‘How to make Paper Pots using the Paper Pot Press’ Blog Post.
Spring colours are alive in this fun combination of Collage Studs from Wolf & Moon. This set of four mix and match earrings combine brass, painted wood, acrylic and mother of pearl. A versatile set in shades of green offset with some sparkle that will add spring vibes to any outfit.
I had to end with this fun screen print by Tiff Howick of a yellow duck. Tiff Howick captures its fluffy feathery body with an expressive use of marks. Bold and bright in strong yellow colours, this is the perfect print to waddle into your home. A little duckling is an iconic image of spring and makes you think of new life.
Love is in the air and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner we are using this edition of ‘OC&K Curates’ to bring you some of our most romantic gift ideas. Don’t forget to be prepared for February 14th, the perfect gift could be right here. Like a print reminding you of happy times, a book to inspire new adventures or a workshop to create new memories.
It was believed that the heart was the the centre of our strongest emotions, including love. The heart became the symbol of love and we see it everywhere the closer we get to Valentines Day. ♥️ That classic heart symbol is a bit overused don’t you think? Get back to the science of it with this Human Heart print by John Devolle. A characterful giclée with the feel of vintage text book illustrations.
Show someone they mean the world to you with one of Roderick Vere’s Planetary Collection rings. This collection takes its inspiration from our solar system. Like this Earth Ring which is crafted by hand in solid sterling silver and finished with a satin sheen. A beautiful and stunning, fully-hallmarked piece of jewellery.
Did you know that Roderick Vere also hosts silver ring making workshops here at Of Cabbages and Kings? A perfect romantic gift, and one that doesn’t only result in you ending the day with your own silver ring, but also the memory of the creating it.
Where did you go on your first date? If it was in East London there is a chance that Marc Gooderham may have painted or drawn it. With great attention to detail Marc has a talent for capturing the life of a place and his prints are an evocative reminder of London’s gems. We have a variety of his prints of some of East London’s most iconic establishments, like this one of Wiltons Music Hall. A place that also won Best Historic Wedding Venue 2019 at the UK Wedding Awards. Check out his others here.
Nothing beats a cosy evening in with a loved one. Set the mood with a scented candle. The Oakwood + Tobacco Soy Wax Candle from Hobo + Co is warming blend of smoky oakwood and musky tobacco, a great scent for creating a relaxed atmosphere. Plus soy wax is a much healthier alternative to paraffin wax, it burns cleaner and holds the fragrance better.
Maybe you’re looking for a gift that might spark a next adventure. Like some of the couples in this book: London Underground 1970-1980 by Mike Goldwater. Mike takes an intimate view of London’s iconic travel network. Documenting the loves, friendships and the day to day lives of the people that use it.
Does a joint hobby connect you with your loved one? Coupling (A Good Book) – Edition A is from Tom Berry’s Daily Rites series. What’s more romantic than reading to each other? This bold yellow and blue pair sit embraced and entranced by their novels, a great reminder of a passion you share with someone close.
A cyanotype print of a coat. Image: Liz Loveless – Factory Press
Ahead of our upcoming exhibition with Liz Loveless of Factory Press we take a look at cyanotypes. In this show Liz presents us with a selection of artwork involving the cyanotype process. But what is a cyanotype and how are they created?
A cyanotype is a photographic process involving chemicals on paper or fabric that produces cyan blue prints. It was discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842 as a way of reproducing drawings and diagrams such as architectural blueprints. Cyanotypes are a type of contact print which means the actual image being reproduced is placed directly over the paper. This opens it up to a whole host of creative possibilities, not just reproducing drawings, but using 3D objects. Liz uses this to great effect in her cyanotype works. Everyday objects such as bikes, coats, bottles and vegetation are used to create prints with a unique one-off quality.
A bike being exposed under a UV light onto treated paper. Image: Liz Loveless – Factory Press
To create a cyanotype a mixture of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium are combined to create a photosensitive solution that is then applied to paper. This is allowed to dry in the dark to avoid exposure until it is ready to use. To create a print you must expose this coated paper to UV light, for example sunlight. This then creates a chemical reaction in the parts that are exposed to the light then darkening them. When fully exposed the chemical coated paper is then rinsed under running water. This washes away the unexposed chemical that was in shadow leaving a blank space, surrounded by the blue that was exposed to the light.
A large palm leaf being exposed in sunlight. Image: Liz Loveless – Factory Press
The most simple way of creating a cyanotype print is to lay objects on to your coated paper and then expose to sunlight. You can experiment with any objects. The more solid an object and the closer it is to the paper the more crisp a result you will get. Further away or less solid an object you will begin to get fuzzier edges. This is most apparent when using natural materials like leaves and flowers. Their 3D quality creates an unpredictable silhouette that fades from crisp dark blue to pale blue blurs. After the cyanotype has had an appropriate time in the sun (this can vary depending on the strength of the sunlight) it is then rinsed under running water and left to dry.
Finished print being rinsed. Image: Liz Loveless – Factory Press