Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

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Opium Cyanotypes (part 1)

This summer I'm concocting experiments in my studio, to take advantage of China's clear skies. These images have been brewing for quite some time. 

Years, actually.

They're part of a series on China and America's common ground: Opium. A drug that once caused friction between our countries that lingers in the mind of many today.

Here for the first time I'll show some of my works-in-progress. Some I've rejected, but shots of them will illustrate aspects of Cyanotype printing that give ideas for further experiments. Others will I think make the final cut.

They range in size from 2.5 x 3 feet to 2.5 x 6 feet, all on textured cotton from Yunnan, China.

Hanging prints


These are first painted in a dim room late at night. The chemicals are a light yellowish color, and it's difficult to see what will actually print when I expose them to sunlight the next day.

Detail of opium pipe: 

Pipe detail

Words cut from Xuan paper, used as negatives for the print:

Pipe Letters

It's been half a year since I last had the space to print Cyanotypes, during a residency at USM Malaysia.

Find out more about Cyanotypes in this how-to post.

More images from this series in this Flickr set


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