Rosaline Darby reports on an exciting workshop she organised for some members of Phoenix, despite the prospect of uncertain weather conditions.

It was disappointing not to be able to meet as a whole group at our usual venue in July, the lifting of Coronavirus restrictions having been delayed, particularly as we are raring to go with planning for our exhibition in October. However, Joan Bingley came to the rescue, offering her spacious and peaceful garden as a meeting venue, which was perfect for the Introduction to Cyanotype Printing workshop.

We began by coating samples of our own fabrics and paper in the light sensitive chemicals before leaving them in Joan’s airing cupboard, in the dark, to dry.

Then we placed plant material, feathers, lace and acetate stencils onto pieces of cotton, silk, watercolour paper and Chinese rice paper that I had prepared ahead of time. These were held in place with sheets of glass and laid out in the sun for the magic to happen.

Once fully exposed, the pieces had to be quickly and thoroughly rinsed in cold water to prevent any further reaction with the light.

Luckily, the rain held off long enough to allow them to dry.

Some exciting and satisfying results were achieved, several exploring our personal themes for the exhibition.

While the cyanotypes were drying, we even managed to fit in a very useful critique of three members’ work for the exhibition, so all in all a very satisfactory, spontaneous afternoon.

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