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Materials Lab Workshop: Making Sun Prints with Plants [AT CAPACITY]

Two-dimensional image of pressed spring flower shapes rendered in pale shades of green floating against light blue paper.
Mary Kocol, American, Spring Ephemerals, Anthotype Made from Leaves of Violets, 2021. Anthotype. © Mary Kocol.


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

This event is at capacity.

Return to the mystery and serendipity of making photographic prints by hand! Anthotypes, a kind of sun print, are made with sunlight and juices extracted from common flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The plant chemicals (anthocyanins, carotenoids, and flavonoids) produce fascinating natural colors.

The plant-based emulsion is applied to paper, then dried, and contact-printed with an object or positive transparency before being exposed to the sun for days or weeks. Anthotypes (from the Greek, meaning “flower print”) were first made in the early 1800s as an attempt to create color in photographic imagery. Due to its ephemeral and unpredictable nature, the process was abandoned for more stable processes. Today, the anthotype is experiencing a resurgence and new appreciation as an ecofriendly process. These prints are of the present; they are as fleeting, fragile, and exquisite as a garden in bloom.

The workshop will be led by artist Mary Kocol, a fine arts photographer at the Harvard Art Museums. It is inspired by White Shadows: Anneliese Hager and the Camera-less Photograph, the first exhibition to focus on the role of women makers in the history of the photogram. We will be joined in the galleries by Lynette Roth, the Daimler Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, for an introduction to the exhibition and a closer look at some of Anneliese Hager’s works, as well as a variety of light-based works by the artist’s predecessors and contemporaries. The hands-on session will then take place in the Materials Lab on the Lower Level.

$15 materials fee. Registration is required and space is limited. Materials fee must be paid to confirm registration. Please email or call 617-495-1440 to register. Minimum age of 14; no previous experience is required.

Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museums.