I AM AN ARTIST | SARAH SHOTTS

SARAHSHOTTS.COM | @SARAHDSHOTTS

When Olivia invited me to participate I knew right away I wanted to try cyanotype for this project. Sometimes this process is referred to as sun printing because it involves exposing sun sensitive paper to UV light. It’s a blend of photographic and printmaking techniques.

I’ve dabbled with sun printing in the past using pretreated paper, but have always been curious about mixing my own solution. This can then be applied to paper, fabric, wood, or even pottery.

Here’s how the process works:

First you pour 400ml water into two jars. You then measure out bright red crystals into one jar. And deep golden brown into the next. Stir and let fully dissolve for 24 hours. (I was feeling very mad scientist at this point.)

Next you dim the lights and apply the solution to your paper. You can submerge whole sheets in trays, but I used a paintbrush. For this piece I kept the brush strokes for a painterly effect. At this point it is a pale spring green. 

Once dry you can place objects or negatives on the paper and cover with a clear glass plate. Then expose to light. On a bright sunny day the color darkens right away and eventually shifts to a dark coppery blue. After it’s fully exposed the print is then rinsed and hung to dry. Over 24 hours the blue deepens into a vibrant cobalt.

I chose cyanotype purely on an intuitive level, but it also turned out to be the perfect metaphor for my creativity. 

The heart and soul of my creative process is curiosity. I love learning new things and experimenting with techniques that combine different mediums. The botanicals I used for my sun print represent the important role that nature plays in my creative process. I find it is a powerful metaphor for creative exploration and is also restorative, meditative, and inspirational. It’s a key part of balancing my creativity and mental health.

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