March is National Craft Month and it so happens that these last couple of months for me has been about learning new skills.
Hand Colouring Photographs
If you are old enough to either remember the photographs that are actually hand coloured with dyes, or you may remember those of your parents, then this was the skill that I got to learn at the Attenborough Arts Centre in February. With colouring in being massively on trend, then this was the perfect new art to learn for a photographer. Despite being something that photographers would do back in the 1830s to make their monochrome images look more realistic, there is a new set of contemporary artists using this art form as a new way to be creative. I personally loved the time to sit and quietly add photographic dyes and watercolour acrylics & pencils to some of my black and white images and it’s a skill I’d love to continue with.
Elizabeth Lennard : Jan Saudek : Kathy Vargas
Thanks again to the Attenborough Arts Centre and Leicester Lo Fi, I got to learn how to create Cyanotypes. A Cyanotype is a photographic style printing process that produces a cyan-blue print and was used by engineers in the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. Anna Atkins created a limited series of cyanotype books that documented ferns and other plant life from her extensive seaweed collection, placing specimens directly onto coated paper and allowing the action of light to create a silhouette effect. By using this photogram process, she is sometimes considered to be the first female photographer. I absolutely loved creating these and something I am looking to develop more of. The results are beautiful.
Modern Sign Writing
With a surge in interest in Calligraphy courses, when the chance came up to learn Modern Sign Writing with Polly and Me, combined with a visit to the Derbyshire Spring Market with friends, then I jumped at the chance. My handwriting is not the best, so I was keen to learn how to create beautiful lettering for the business. Ali, who runs Polly and Me has the perfect relaxed manner for teaching this skill and despite me not being brave enough to write on my chalkboard during the course, I know I am enjoying practising and deciding what inspiring words to write on my board.