Cyanotype printing on textiles and paper with Aline Johnson

Art textiles

Ref: S2D12095

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About this course

Making cyanotype fabrics and paper. Explore the technique of sun-printing (cyanotypes), to make silk scarves, cotton napkins and a collage-patchwork using our printed khadi papers, using dried leaves, flowers or feathers.

Course Description

You will explore the medium of cyanotype on fabrics and paper. This ancient technique to make photograms was used by Victorian botanists to collect images of seaweed and botanicals. It was a prelude to the blueprint commonly used by architects before the photocopier and the printer.
You will learn to interpret the spirit of making photograms of shapes from nature (dried leaves and flowers, feathers) on silk, cotton and hand scooped khadi paper using sunlight outdoors, and UV lamps inside.

Chemicals (Potassium Ferricyanide and Ferric Ammonium Citrate) are mixed with water to create a light sensitive liquid. This is applied to the paper and fabric in a dim room and dried. The papers and the fabric will be prepped with the cyanotype liquid by the tutor in advance

The silhouettes (leaves, feathers etc) are put on top and covered with glass sheets, the fabric/paper is exposed to UV light for about 20 minutes to one hour and the silhouette remains the original colour, whilst the surrounds will become Prussian blue when rinsed out under water when the colour develops and deepens. You may change the colour of the final blue by using a coloured fabric to start with and will dye your silk scarf with this consideration.

Expect to make silk scarves (outdoors with sunlight), cotton napkins and khadi papers (inside with a UV lamp) by placing leaves, dried flowers or feathers to use as silhouettes.  The hand-scooped khadi paper has a rough edge that looks very good in a patchwork, so we will be making different prints to combine in a collage. 


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


On this course the tutor will supply most of the materials including: cyanotype liquids, silk and cotton materials, khadi papers required.

What students need to bring

Dried flowers, leaves, feathers, a selection of interesting shapes and sizes
An apron and rubber gloves
Notebook and pen


Aline Johnson

Aline Johnson works from her London studio at Cockpit Arts. After a career in fashion she trained as a postgraduate student at Central St Martin's in glass. She works mostly on glass lighting commissions in collaboration with architects and interior designer. She sells her work though craft shows and started teaching at West Dean in summer 2015.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

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