Cyanogifts – The collective behind the cyanotype tote bags

Cyanogifts – a collective from Macedonia – channel their creativity into placing art on everyday objects, like their cyanotype tote bags.

Cyanotype bag from Cyanogifts.
Cyanotype bag from Cyanogifts.

How did Cyanogifts start?

Cyanogifts was an idea that started from our love for alternative photographic processes. The idea is fairly old, yet, as we say, the star constellations were not adequate to make it happen.

“We wanted to place our love and passion for cyanotypes into something practical, and send a message that even everyday objects like a bag, for example, can also be beautiful, or at least carry some emotional value for the user.”

People often forget that these days. We feel that too many items we use on a daily basis are just detached, or how to put this, just things that we use and we care less and less about their aesthetics and environmental impact on the other hand. We started creating tote bags that are inspired mostly by the nature around us, our photo negatives, and prints.

Who are the people behind Cyanogifts?

We are photographers from Macedonia and we work with several different types of analog photography, and one of them is cyanotype that we mastered at Sasho Alushevski’s – the pioneer of an alternative approach in photography in Macedonia – workshops and courses. The gang behind Cyanogifts is:

  • Viktorija Machkovska, an archeology student, photography enthusiast, loves cyanotype. She is the youngest but she sure is our collective conscience and supervisor.
  • Keti Talevska, a professional photographer, was first in Macedonia to experiment so extensively with lumen prints, and now cyanotypes.
  • Sasho Alushevski, may be best known as a wet plate photographer, but he works in many other alternative photographic processes (albumen, salt print, cyanotype, pinhole photography…).

The people behind Cyanogifts

How did you meet?

We are interconnected on different levels, some rational some beyond that. Both Keti and Viktorija were participants on the advanced photography course at Sasho Alushevski. They share a passion for rock climbing, and Keti and Sasho have known each other for some time, and they have conducted some alternative photo workshops together. It all started because Viktorija and Keti wanted to learn the cyanotype process, and Sasho was too lazy to promote the idea before, by himself. So it came as a win-win-win situation, and everyone contributes to the process with vital energy and essential creative input.  We are very aware that every product of ours reflects the fact that each item is a synergy of our individual and collective input. Our products are literally made from and with love.

Bag printed with cyanotype from CyanogiftsYou seem to have a lot of designs. How do you come up with new designs?

As we said above, we do all this for the fun of doing it. So we just play, and being in a playful state naturally brings creativity on a higher level. Most of the time, we just imagine what we would like, or how this will come out. We experiment and we cooperate, and we encourage each other in our urge to do something “crazy”. So it is again play, curiosity, being prepared to make a mistake, total failure, which is not a rare thing. So, sharing a passion in a supportive environment is the way we work. We have to say we have many more designs, and we are too lazy to edit the photos, and too insecure to post often because we do not want to be too intrusive. Often, we make a joke when we make something we personally like a lot (and that happens almost regularly), and then someone goes like, we are not going to sell this bag under ( x20  the regular price ) – so it stays with us.

Some of the designs are made by one person, some by two of us, and some as a collective input. It depends on the moment, the mood. When we make photograms, they sure are unique designs, and sometimes we mix photo negatives with some floral-photograms motifs, and they are one of a kind too. We have a limited series of designs made from negatives, but they are also pretty different ( brush strokes, exposure, etc). We limit the series because we do not want to somehow disappoint the customers, but mostly because we get bored with the same motif.☺

Will you expand your business?

We’ll continue working on other environment-friendly products. We want to make more environmentally friendly products that will silently judge the plastic bags around us.

We are currently testing the new rucksacks designs. People around us say that they love them, and last weekend we were obsessed with the idea of making small decorative lamps, with floral and photo applications, and it seems like we are going to try to make them!

Cyanogifts can be found at Twitter and

Bag printed with cyanotype by Cyanogifts artists
Bag printed with cyanotype by Macedonian artists
Cyanotype bags printed
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