I make original cyanotype prints, cards and collages based on the traditional method with a modern twist using botanicals collected from local woods. Herschel invented the technique in the 1840s whereby a light-sensitive solution is applied to paper, then a composition is placed on top and exposed to sunlight. It produces white silhouettes on a deep (Prussian) blue print. Modern methods involve introducing a little chaos into the process by adding salts, citric acid, soap etc to produce ethereal marbling patterns in the background. Every print is different, which is part of their charm. Most of the botanicals are sourced either from my own garden in Kenilworth or responsibly foraged on dog walks in Warwickshire woods.
Born in Edinburgh, I grew up in the North West of England, went to the universities of Manchester and Oxford, specialising in 17th-century Spanish comic drama. Although I started out as a translator, I escaped via a turbulent and circuitous route of journalism and educational publishing to expand my interests to include botanical history, science fiction, gardening and local history. I’ve published a few novels in the mystery and fantasy categories, and while researching these, I tripped over the work of Anna Atkins, the pioneering female photographer, and have now turned printmaker. I specialise in cyanotypes, using the traditional method – but with a contemporary twist – using salts, citric acid and more to create a little chaos. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with digital negatives using the cyanotype process as well as collages.