Tree, Leaves, Cyanotype, Sunshine, Ink

Ever since our friend Derrick visited mid-month bearing materials to make cyanotypes, I’ve been fascinated by the process. With the arrival of my own cyanotype chemicals late last week, I’ve dived back into experimenting, with hopes of combining cyanotype and letterpress. Today was my first try.

I started by picking some leaves from the sugar maple tree in front of our house (the tree is in peak foliage as I write, something that, in this case, is immaterial but for the fact that it will soon drop its leaves, making time of the essence):

Sugar Maple tree in our front yard.

I lay the leaves I picked on paper I’d painted a few days ago with the cyanotype chemicals, and set a pane of glass overtop:

Sugar Maple leaves on cyanotype paper under glass on a cookie tray on my porch, in the sunshine.

I left them in the midday sunshine of my front stoop for 20 minutes, then brought them inside and rinsed them in the kitchen sink, changing the water a few times, for about five minutes, and then lay them out to dry. It’s this part of the process where the alchemy runs strongest.

Cyanotype sugar maples leaves drying on newspaper on my kitchen table.

Back in the print shop, I set SUGAR MAPLE in 120 point Akzidenz Grotesk:

SUGAR MAPLE in metal type.

A combination of impatience and wanting to try “printing damp,” which is a thing letterpress printers do, led me to print the cyanotype prints while they were, if not wet, at least soggy. The resulting impression was luscious compared to printing dry, and I’m very happy with the result:

SUGAR MAPLE overprinted on cyanotype of sugar maple leave.


Ann's picture
Ann on October 29, 2021 - 17:17 Permalink

How much?

Kevin's picture
Kevin on October 29, 2021 - 22:23 Permalink


Mary's picture
Mary on October 29, 2021 - 22:38 Permalink

Cyanotypes are among my favourite processes. Love to see some more.

Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on October 30, 2021 - 06:34 Permalink

Cool! Ordered 1.

Andrea's picture
Andrea on October 30, 2021 - 10:10 Permalink

The result is beautiful. I love the colour combination. Very cool.

vbj's picture
vbj on October 30, 2021 - 12:47 Permalink

Sold out fast! Love the blue/orange color combo.

Olle Jonsson's picture
Olle Jonsson on October 31, 2021 - 03:18 Permalink

Cyanotype came into my view via the Berlin brass & wood YouTube personality Uri Tuchmann. That could be a place to poke, too.

Your print-over is inspired!

Pedro Custodio's picture
Pedro Custodio on October 31, 2021 - 06:38 Permalink

Try adding some b@w transparency photos and other materials in layers to the composition. I'm always amazed with the results and the simplicity of the process.