Peter J. Blackburn reviews Anthotype Emulsions, Volume 1, and finds this springboard and resource alluring – and is eagerly awaiting the next volume.
If ever there was a medium that best captured the soft, the gentle, and the ethereal, anthotypes would be among the champions. And those delicate qualities are clearly on display in Malin Fabbri’s new text, Anthotype Emulsions, Volume 1, which continues to build upon the outstanding work of her original Anthotypes book. Once again, dedicated artists from all over the world experiment and contribute their valuable discoveries page by page. The beauty is alluring, and the possibilities are endless.
Consider this book as a springboard to immediately and easily propel you into the world of anthotypes with a minimum of equipment, time, and expense. Others will find the book a resource to build upon, perhaps by combining two or more organic emulsions, such as, for example, some red beetroot extract with a blueberry compote to fashion a magnificent purple. Still, others may be motivated to create anthotypes on grounds other than paper, perhaps using fabric, firewood planks, or even fresco. Then, imagine the possibilities of mingling anthotypes with endless mixed media techniques. Isn’t it amazing how such a basic and natural medium can serve as the front door to a whole new universe of creativity?
Now, having stated that, my call would be to all artists working with organic emulsions to search for ways to extend the life of these precious works, if not for eternity, then at least for the next generation or two. Perhaps if only to temper the hoity-toity found in Cassell’s Cyclopaedia of 1911:
“All images created by these processes quickly fade and are of no value except as curiosities while they last.”
On the contrary, they are far more than mere curiosities to me. I find in these delightful experiments and renderings a great deal of comfort and a source of inspiration. Malin and her team have done us all a great service in keeping this important historical practice in our view with style and simplicity. So, as a magic fixer still awaits to be invented, capture your work in high-quality digital files while it is bright and brilliant. Then consider printing them as exhibition works, not measured in inches, but rather in feet—many feet!
A volume one begs for a two. I can’t wait, can you?