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Cyanotype Workshop Impressions

Impressions from our first Guest Artist Workshop which took place on September 10-11. We had a wonderful group of students! We are looking forward to repeating this workshop in the Spring when the sun comes out again. 
"Cyanotype: Drawing in Four Dimensions"with Hiroshi McDonald Mori 
Dive into the process of Cyanotype in this intensive weekend workshop! Cyanotype is a photographic technique that exposes images in sunlight. Creating an image requires no negatives but rather invites a direct approach that combines elements of drawing, painting and sculpture with the final element of time. Mix the alchemical concoction discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842 to create your own solutions, prepare, expose, and develop photosensitive paper. By learning the chemical process involved, you will also unlock infinite possibilities for deconstructing the medium to create unique effects.

Summer Art Program with the children of NUK Wrangelstrasse

We have just concluded our Summer Art Program for the children living at the Notunterkunft Wrangelstrasse. This is a place where refugees live temporarily in Berlin, and we were happy to share a bit of fun and creativity with out neighbors.

I am proud to report that we were able offer 6 art classes with the help of 7 volunteers from the Berlin Drawing Room (Tali, Sina, Signe, Wiesje, Elly, Ines, Mira). We received donations or art and craft supplies from several generous individuals, as well as substantial donations from Kita Nestwarme and Peters Art. We worked with a group of about ten children who were full of energy and enthusiasm!

Some projects included potato stamps, bubble paintings, a mural, masks and leaf rubbings.

We have been invited back to continue our art program during the school year and we are searching for new volunteers! If you are interesting in participating, please get in touch at Thanks!

Cyanotype Botanical Illustrations by Anna Atkins

In the Botanical Drawing Workshop, we mainly focused on drawing and watercolor painting as methods for capturing the likeness of a plant. We did also experiment with pressing and drying plants to create Herbarium plates. While researching Cyanotype for another upcoming workshop at the Berlin Drawing Room, I was excited to learn that one of the earliest uses for this photographic technique was actually for botanical illustrations of seaweed by artist and scientist Anna Atkins.

This from the Public Domain Review, where you can also see more of her work:
"Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was an English botanist and the very first female photographer, most noted for using photography in her books on various plants. Having grown up with her father John George Children — a chemist, mineralogist, and not too successful zoologist — she was surrounded by science and also contributed to her father’s work. Her engravings of shells can be found in her father’s translated edition of Jean-Baptiste de Monet Lamarck’s Genera of Shells, published in 1823, but it is her work with cyanotypes that she is best known for. Through her father and her husband, Atkins came to know both William Henry Fox Talbot, a pioneer of early photography who invented a process of creating photographs on paper treated with salt and a solution of silver nitrate, and Sir John Herschel, the inventor of the cyanotype printing method. She became interested in the cyanotype process which produced images through so-called sun-printing. The object is placed on paper which has been treated with ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide, after which it is exposed to sunlight and then washed in water, leading to the uncovered areas of the paper turning a dark blue. The process, known as blueprinting, was later used to reproduce architectural and engineering drawings, but Atkins chose to use it for what is considered to be the first work with photographic illustrations, namely her Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843). Only 13 copies of the handwritten book are known to exist, some of which are in various stages of completion. Later, she would collaborate with another female botanist, Anne Dixon (1799–1864), in making two more books featuring cyanotypes: Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns(1853) and Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns (1854). Atkins became a member of the Botanical Society in London in 1839, one of the few scientific societies which was open to women."