Cyanotype printing, also known as 'sun printing' is a process that originated in the early 20th century, originally used by engineers to create 'blueprints.' This process is now used to produce gorgeous works of art and photographer and print maker Emma Mapp of Mapp of London shares her story with Craft Courses of how she has made her craft passion into a business.
I am now a new and emerging photographer and a keen teacher of my new found passion Cyanotype, however, initially I started my career as a qualified lawyer but was unfortunately made redundant during the financial crash of 2009. At this stage I engaged the services of a careers life coach and they helped me find my direction and my purpose.
This was the best thing I could have ever done as it helped me reignite my dormant passion in photography and during a photography course, I actually met my now business partner.
Nature would inspire a great deal of my future creations
What followed were wonderful experiences such as, co-founding the London Photo Festival, having work featured in publications such as The Telegraph and the Metro and also launching my very own camera bag and accessories business.
As a lover of travel, photography and bags, I was always on the search for a beautifully designed camera bag and strap. When I couldn’t find one that suited my needs, I decided to design my own and turned this into a business.
Finding beauty in what you can easily find around you
Our most recent photography project has seen us partner with English Heritage to launch our first outdoor photography exhibition (from October 2020). The London Photo Festival gives aspiring photographers a place to showcase their work, and the London Photo Gallery helps sell the work of newly emerging photographers.
Cyanotype printing allows you to explore shape and form
My latest inspiration came from a visit last year to Antiqua. This trip introduced me to the oldest photographic art form of cyanotype printing, and this inspired me to start my own cyanotype workshops from my she-shed in London.
Kits available to purchase so you can practice this craft from home
Like many businesses during the Covid-19 Pandemic, I have had to adapt how I run my business and as a result, I began to run online classes and devised a DIY cyanotype printing kit so students can learn to make prints in the comfort of their own home.
The beauty of cyanotype printing is that it is easy, accessible, it has instant results and you do not need expensive darkroom equipment.
It's great not to need expensive dark room equipment
I have found this craft has opened my eyes to nature and I am constantly looking at different flora and fauna to see if it will make a nice print, (I can no longer be trusted in parks and gardens!) It is also a craft which teaches you that being a perfectionist is overrated, as you can make the same print twenty times in a row and it will turn out differently every time- you never know what you’re going to get and this is what makes it an exciting and creative experience.
You can get striking results with this technique
If we learn one thing from the Pandemic, it will be that we need to switch off our phones more often and make more time to indulge in our creative passions.
Delicate leaves and stems make great images
You can see the full selection of Emma's courses and kits here and enjoy this fantastically effective craft for yourselves.