Creating Cyanotypes, Creating a Dissertation

close-up pink cyanotope of a dandelion on a blue background

In February or March, I started playing with cyanotypes on fabric. Doing cyanotypes in winter in Minnesota is… not the easiest thing to do, but I was just experimenting, playing around.

This image shows several cyanotypes being made. Flowers and plants are set on treated fabric and exposed to the sun.
Making cyanotypes in the summer.

Over a period of several months, I kept experimenting with different natural materials, different weather conditions, different exposure times. And then, somehow, my cyanotypes worked their way into my dissertation work.

Exposed cyanotypes that haven't been developed provide a "negative" image.
Cyanotypes after exposure and before development.

That’s the way this whole arts-based researcher thing has gone. My creative practices become part of my academic work. This is awesome, because I can bring my creative self to my academic work. This is not awesome, because it can be hard to separate creative work from academic work.

Goatsbeard flower (salsify) makes a very large, clear cyanotype print. The flower image is pink on a dark blue background.
I made several cyanotypes using the goatsbeard flower (salsify). It looked like a prehistoric dandelion.

I’m looking forward to this dissertation being done so I can make something without it being for my dissertation.

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