Cyanotype Printing!

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Last month, I went for the Cyanotype Batik workshop organised by NUS Museum. Thought I should expand my repertoire of cloth-dying techniques. As always, it was fun, though perturbing, to pick up a new skill. 

The first thing we had to do was to practise painting straight lines with wax. It wasn't easy, given that the melted wax hardened very quickly. 
 In fact, we did not get to do any batik painting. The back-breaking work was already done for us by the kind Indonesian ladies.

All we had to do was to draw a ring in paraffin wax, to prevent seepage of the photosensitive chemicals.

Transparencies of our chosen images were prepared for us by the artists-facilitators, Kabul and Samantha. Since I thought of doing one piece for my grandma, I've to get one transparency of her:
We placed the transparencies of our chosen images over the cloth prepared with photosensitive dyes.

It took around ten minutes of exposure to the sun for the dyes to react. The dark areas will not allow light through. After the treatment, they will be the lighter areas. Conversely, those lighter areas will allow more UV penetration, thereby causing the photosensitive pigments to darken.

The trick was not to overexpose the works lest they charred.
Here're some random photos of the rooftop while we waited for our cloths to develop. 
After washing and drying, the cyanotype print was ready! Here's my grandma, holding her hands in a saintly manner. I wonder if I've been subconciously (negatively?) influenced by Western-oriented aesthetics. After all, portraits in the Asian traditions do not depict figures holding their hands with their faces tilted slightly upwards. Such poses are reserved for those from European schools.

(Although it's quite mixed nowadays, with the homogenizing influence of globalisation and technology.)
Here's the second cyanoprint of my flying lionfish. Choose it to complement the clucking garudas framing the border. There is a poetic symmetry in these images, at least in my imagination. 

This was a wonderful, albeit rather expensive, experience. Not very sure if I'd ever practise this technique again in my lifetime!

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