Bring the artists into the classroom

Hear from Sonja and Elisa on the NITV Podcast.

What do you associate with the colour blue?

Research what the environment is like in Minjerribah. Locate Minjerribah on a map and now find a place on the opposite side or end of Australia. How do these two places differ?

Ways of life for Quandamooka people changed dramatically with colonisation. Access to traditional land was denied, and language and cultural practices were silenced or controlled. As a result, traditions such as weaving were interrupted for a period of time. How do the works of art made by the Carmichaels preserve and maintain culture?

Investigate the history of cyanotypes – why have the artists used this technique? What qualities do cyanotypes have which can’t be replicated with photography, drawing or even digital reproductions?

What is a cyanotype?

Cyanotype is an analogue photographic printing process that produces images in a dark blue hue. The word cyan comes from the Greek word meaning ‘dark blue substance’. The process was pioneered byBritish botanist and photographer Anna Atkins in 1842 to record her botanical specimens and was then used by engineers to create copies of technical drawings, later referred to as blueprints. The cyanotype process requires a mixture of two iron compounds, which is used to coat a heavy paper or fabric. Objects (flowers, plants, leaves – anything that has a distinctive shape) are then placed on top of the paper in low light and exposed to UV light. The paper or fabric is then washed in water to create a blue print.

Sonja Carmichael, Ngugi/Quandamooka people, South East Queensland, born 1958, Brisbane, Elisa Jane Carmichael, Ngugi/Quandamooka people, South East Queensland, born 1987, Brisbane, Yagabili wunjayi (make today), 2019, Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Queensland, cyanotype on cotton, 240.0 x 270.0 cm; Courtesy the artists and Onespace Gallery, © Elisa Jane and Sonja Carmichael/Onespace Gallery, photo: Grant Hancock.

Making and Responding

Fibre art, drawing and intergenerational making

Sonja and Elisa Jane Carmichael, Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Queensland, 2020; photo: Jo Driessens.

Sonjia and Elisa Jane Carmichael

Learn more about the artists

Create your own blueprint

Make a blueprint drawing of your own culture

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