What’s New – Mixed media, Papercuts and cyanotypes

My new work centres on cyanotype and papercutting with an occassional touch of stencil for good luck…

I layer images to create a sense time passing and also to create depth within the work. The technique of  photographic printing by the cyanotype method dates from Sir John Herschel’s invention of the process in 1856. However it was soon superceeded  by more reliable methods of photographic reproduction although draughtsmen and architects continued to use it for some considerable time to make their ‘blueprints’. The name blueprint deriving from the characteristic blue colour of cyanotype. It is possible to bleach and retone images with tannin and I occassionally use this to create a particular requred effect.

Many of the images I am currently using date from late 19th and early 20th century and I feel that the historic cyanotype process works particularly well with these old photographs and enhances the essence of bygone times. The addition of different layers of papercut and stencil are used to create a narrative and to draw the subject through time into today. Within these layers are embedded metaphors and commentary relating to my interpretation of the image. I particularly enjoy using the homespun folk craft  of papercutting but contrasting this by cutting images that are designed to comment on or question the many complex issues that the original photographs raise.

'Can You Hear Our Whispers' (echo down the years)

Mixed media. Unique.

23cm x 23cm x 4.5cm   £155

A Thousand Kisses

Mixed Media. Unique

23cm x 23cm x 4.5cm


A new piece of work is started

First stages

The cutting continues but I am not happy with the top right section……I will have to change it…..not easy but can be done!

That's it nearly done- I have changed the top right by grafting in a new piece

I have placed the papercut over the cyanotype to get a feel of how the piece is going but I now need to start work on the final layer which will be worked onto the inside of the picture frame glass….. I have a pretty clear plan of how it is going to look but need to do some test pieces first to make sure it’s right.

I will post the finished work as soon as I get it done.

One of the problems I have is getting good photographs as because the front glass is an integral part of the work I can’t photograph it without this so reflections are a problem. It really needs to be seen in real life. I might try using a heavy acetate sheet set directly behind the glass and work onto that instead but I will probably have the same reflection difficulties from the acetate. Still it’s worth a try.

These papercuts take about a week to do with the drawing and planning so I have started to create centres which will late be cut away and then photocopy the complete image and make a screen so that then I can create screen prints based on the original papercut which remains a unique piece of work.

Here is an example of one I have done.

When I Grow Up

This example is in black and white but I have also printed it in red, blue or pink. It makes a really lovely present for a new baby. I can supply it ready mounted to fit a 40 x 40 frame or framed. The cost is £60 mounted and £80 framed plus P & P at cost. I sent my niece a  framed pink version to welcome her first baby, a girl called Martha, and she was over the moon with it.

Another piece I made recently was as a gift for some very dear friends who were celebrating their Ruby wedding. It is a very complex piece and took ages to complete but I think the result was worth the effort. I got lots of little snippets of family inside information from one of their sons and was able to include many of these and carefully weave them into the design. One of the couple  originates from Lancashire and the other hails from Yorkshire but instead of using the names of the counties I twisted together lines from ‘She’s a Lassie from Lancashire’ and On Ilkley Moor Bhat’at and also included roses some of which I backed with red whilst others were left white.

I can do commissions for pieces similar to this by arrangement.

A special gift made for a special couple

Counting Magpies

In June 2010 I showed an installation at  ‘Impressive’ an exhibition by 8 professional printmakers held at the Memorial Gallery at Yale College, Wrexham. The work is now on show at Oriel Scala in Prestatyn for Helfa Gelf. It is slightly different though as the space is different and one of the pictures ‘A Thousand Kisses’ which was part of the original piece has been sold

Part of Counting Magpies installation recreated at Oriel Scala for Helfa Gelf Open Studios September 2010

Cyanotype soft sculpture 'dolls'


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