dear budapest cyanotype flag

the flags for the final project will be made with a resist print onto cotton fabric, referencing  hungarian indigo dyeing traditions, but using silkscreen rather than block printing. i was unable to get into the workshop to screen print any samples so i used cyanotyping as the results are similar (white pattern/text on coloured ground) and i can do it at home. the main difference is the colour – cyanotyping produces a range of mid-dark blues (and can be toned to sepia) whereas the flags for the final project will be a multicolour mixture of pink/purple/red/yellow. the cyanotype only registers on the front of the fabric – final flags will be dyed front and back, increasing the colourful effect inside the tent.

there are some technical errors in the printing – mostly due to light-fogging of the emulsion, reducing colour contrast in the right hand corners. a screen print should be more uniformly contrasty.

i was pleased with the level of detail i managed to achieve in the ornamentation and text, although this degree of definition may not be possible with silkscreen techniques. the patterns are derived from c19 hungarian pattern books – i could choose less intricate patterns and/or font if needed. especially when combined with brighter dye colours i hope i’ve managed to produce something that would catch the eye and be picked up, rather than disregarded as rubbish.

the size is a5 – aiming for a balance of enough writing space with being light enough to be lifted with a balloon. while i wanted to emphasise the lace-like patterns i’m not sure whether i’ve left enough writing space for the message – which is the heart of the project. the cyanotype is too dark for writing to be easily legible, this shouldn’t be a problem with the multi-coloured flags.

the weight of the flags is of some concern, as they may prevent the balloons rising to full height and shattering into tiny pieces. i intend source a lightweight but firmly woven cotton fabric, possibly cotton lawn, to mitigate this.


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