Cyanotypes in negative and positive

manutex panel

It’s surprising where ideas come from. The inspiration for this piece came from the bottom of a pot – no, not that sort of a pot ! It was a smear of manutex (sodium alginate thickener) that had dried out while it was waiting to be washed, creating lovely frost-like patterns. So, taking that idea, I spread a thin layer of manutex on to a transparency and left it to dry.

manutex 1

I then scanned it and cropped out the middle panel, played about with it to increase the contrast and bring out the details, and ended up with this.

manutex 2

Next I split the image into 9 panels and printed each one on to an A3 transparency film. Now, I’ve always liked playing around with the positive versus negative versions of images so I thought I would convert my manutex scan into negatives and print those also on to A3 transparency film. So, I had two sets – 9 negatives and 9 positives – but couldn’t decide which ones to use for my cyanotype panels and ended up printing the lot on to treated cotton sateen. This fabric has a beautiful, smooth, slightly sheeny surface which absorbs plenty of solution and gives a gorgeous colour.

I played about for a while with different ways of combining my positive and negative cyanotypes and ended up with the version above, simply alternating positives with negatives.

The moral of this is – always look at the bottom of the pot before you wash it up 🙂 .