IN THE SPOTLIGHT WITH EMILY COSTELLO
23rd March 2018
Blackbird London has teamed up with established artist Emily Costello to create a range of limited edition cushions for the new Manhattan High Line collection.
Inspired by the hardy planting along the unique high line garden in New York, Costello used real ferns, seed heads and foliage to create unique designs, each different to the last. The white silhouettes of the plants contrast against the bright cyan background, giving the impression of plantation against the backdrop of the sky.
Costello, studied at Camberwell College of the Arts and developed a strong interest for the ephemeral, the concept of thing being transitory, existing only briefly. She said, “I have always held a fascination for ephemerals, especially objects found in nature so this project was ideal in trying to capture this through the cyanotype process, where the cyan blue hue changes as the artwork ages.”
The artwork for the cushions are created by treating the linen with a sensitizer solution that makes the canvas light sensitive (similar to the photographic paper used in a darkroom), however the sensitizer used in cyanotypes are only activated by UV light.
Once the linen has been coated in the solution and dried in a dark place, the ferns, seed heads and foliage are placed onto the linen and exposed under UV light for a few minutes only. This method ensures that these are then silhouetted against the cyan background.
After exposure, each piece is then washed in water to fix the image and left to dry, leaving a blue and white cyanotype photogram as shown in the images below.