Tangled Up in Blue: Experimental Cyanotypes on 16mm film with Kate Lain

REGISTER BY July 31, 2020
• WORKSHOP: Saturday, Aug. 8 from 11am–1pm PDT on Zoom
• (Optional virtual “office hour”: Wednesday, Aug. 12 from 11am to noon PDT)
• FOLLOW-UP SESSION: Saturday, Aug. 15 from 11am–12:30pm PDT on Zoom

Sliding scale registration!

Photo credit: All images on this page courtesy of Kate Lain.

Duration: 2h
Instructor: Kate Lain


** Co-sponsored by Engauge Experimental Film Festival and Northwest Film Forum **

Cyanotype is a blue-and-white photographic process that dates back to the 1840s. In this at-a-distance introductory workshop, we will explore creating cyanotypes on 16mm clear leader using sunlight, water, plant matter, and found objects. You’ll get a kit in the mail with all the necessary materials, and artist Kate Lain will walk you through the process of 16mm cyanotype-making via Zoom. The emphasis of the workshop will be on experimentation and playing with materials, rather than on precision.

As part of the workshop, participants will also get practice creating cyanotypes on paper and fabric. The 16mm cyanotype film strips we create in the workshop will be combined into a collaborative film that will be digitized following the workshop. The resulting file will be emailed to participants and will go online sometime later this summer.

No prior film or cyanotype experience needed! Physical mailing address (P.O. box is fine) required to participate and receive kit. More info below.

Kate Lain is an artist and educator working primarily in experimental film and video, ceramics, and cyanotypes. Her work is rooted in documentation and critical observation, and she is particularly interested in questioning USAmerican mythologies related to nature, gender, and landscape. She is based in Pasadena, CA.

If you have questions about the workshop, you can email Caryn Cline at carynycline@gmail.com or Kate Lain at kate@katemakesfilms.com

Additional Info:

Each kit will include:

  • 15 feet of 16mm clear leader coated with cyanotype sensitizer (it’ll be inside of a black light-tight box)
  • A few pieces each of paper and cotton fabric that have been treated with cyanotype sensitizer (it’ll be inside of a black light-tight bag)
  • A small assortment of items you can use in the creation of your sun prints
  • Straight pins for pinning materials and film, paper, or fabric to cardboard during exposure
  • One pair of disposable nitrile gloves
  • A postage-paid USPS Priority Mail envelope for shipping the completed 16mm cyanotype film strips back to Kate Lain for inclusion in the collaborative cyanotype film

What we ask of each participant:

  • Attend the Zoom workshop at 11am Pacific Time on Saturday, August 8, before you start working with the materials in your kit. This should run about 2 hours
  • Attend a Zoom workshop follow-up at 11am Pacific Time on Saturday, August 15, where participants can show their completed cyanotypes (or cyanotypes-in-progress), talk about what kinds of materials they used, what kinds of things they experimented with, and reflect on the process as a group. This should run about 60–90 minutes
  • We recommend that, while exposing and processing, you wear stuff you don’t mind getting dirty or stained. (It’s not usually a messy process, but it can be)
  • Take some photos as you create your cyanotypes and send to Kate & Caryn Cline so that there’s a photographic record of the workshop and so we can share some images online. Selfies with your completed cyanotypes also encouraged and welcomed
  • Using the postage-paid and pre-addressed USPS Priority Mail envelope included in your kit, mail your completed cyanotype film strips to Kate so they can become part of the final collaborative film. (I’ll address this in more detail during the Zoom workshop. —KL) You’ll also mail back the black box and black bag so that they can be reused in future workshops. We ask that you get this in the mail by August 30

Recommended additional tools/materials for participants to gather:

NOTE: We’ll talk about all this stuff in the Zoom workshop!

  • One option for developing cyanotypes: a tray or vessel at least 8” x 10” x 2” deep (This should be something you won’t use in the future for food. —KL)
  • Another option for developing cyanotypes: an empty plastic jug (e.g., for milk or juice) that you can use for developing if you don’t have a tray
  • For securing flat items on your film, paper, or fabric during exposure: a sheet of clear class, acrylic, or plexiglass
  • Some suggestions for items you can use to making your cyanotypes: organic matter like leaves, flowers, tree bark; transparent or translucent items like soda bottles (empty or with stuff inside, up to you!), bubble wrap, plastic wrap, plastic grocery bags; small household items with interesting shapes like paper clips, keys, push pins, bag clips; a mix of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional items
  • For drying cyanotypes after developing: clothesline and clothespins OR old towels that you don’t mind getting stained OR a print-drying rack OR a section of driveway or lawn or sidewalk that won’t get walked across while the cyanotypes dry

For any participants unfamiliar with Zoom:

Kate and Caryn will host a Zoom check-in at 5pm Pacific Time on Friday, Aug. 7, for any participants who have not used Zoom before, want to test out their setup, or for any other reasons wish to practice with the platform before the actual workshop. If you’re interested in being a part of this, please let Caryn know.

Optional Office Hours:

Kate will be hosting an optional virtual “office hour” from 11am to noon Pacific Time on Wednesday, August 12, for any participants who realized after the August 8 workshop that they had additional questions or ran into snags while trying to work through the process on their own.

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Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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