The annual Botanica Public Art Festival in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens provides exciting opportunities for artists to work with plants. While exhibiting Trophy Specimen in Botanica 2018, Priscilla teamed up with State Library Queensland conservator Kelly Leahey to host workshops inviting the public to make cyanotype photograms from plant material.

 The open lawns of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens provided a beautiful setting for people to learn this 180-year-old photographic process, which uses sunlight to produce a gorgeous cyan-blue print.

Cyanotype printing was a popular creative process in Victorian England until photography improved. However, it was until recently used extensively to reproduce engineering and architectural drawings known as ‘blueprints.’

Kelly made the cyanotype paper using a tried and true formula developed by John Herschel in 1842, which she painted onto beautiful hand-made paper. Kelly’s work as a conservator means she’s no stranger to chemicals, but she assures us that it’s as simple as baking a cake. Just pop on some protective gloves and eyewear, and follow the recipe. (Link to recipe

Festival-goers got creative making prints with plant cuttings from the Botanic Gardens, which Priscilla took (with permission), pressed and dried in the weeks before the festival. Please take a look the photos of the work people produced.