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Spirulina & Matcha Anthotypes

Updated: Jul 16

spirulina anthotype

Remember when we explored toning cyanotype with Matcha? Now, let’s dive into something new: creating anthotypes with Matcha and Spirulina!

What is an Anthotype?

An anthotype is a photographic print made using natural pigments from plants. These pigments are photosensitive and fade when exposed to light. Historically, anthotypes were used as a simple and eco-friendly method to create images, dating back to the early 19th century. In our project, we'll use Matcha and Spirulina as the primary pigments.

blueberry anthotype, turmeric anthotype , grass anthotype

from left to right: blueberry anthotype, turmeric anthotype , grass anthotype

Create a Spirulina Anthotype

1) Gather Your Materials

  • Matcha and Spirulina powder

  • 96% isopropyl alcohol (available at most supermarkets)

  • Brushes for applying the solution

  • Paper (get a 300gr paper that is acid free and not treated, preferably cold pressed)

  • Digital positive or solid objects for creating the image

2) Mix the Ingredients

In a container, combine approximately 3 tablespoons of Matcha or Spirulina powder with 1 to 2 tablespoons of alcohol. Aim for a liquid consistency that will be easy to apply to the paper.

spirulina anthotype process

3) Stir Vigorously

Stir the mixture energetically for a few minutes. The alcohol acts as a solvent, effectively dissolving the pigments in both the Spirulina and Matcha. Spirulina contains chlorophyll and phycocyanin, while Matcha is rich in chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. This process will result in a liquid green solution, perfect for coating on paper.

4) Settle the Mixture

Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes so the powder settles at the bottom of the container. Alternatively, you can filter the mixture through a cloth to remove any undissolved particles .

5) Apply the Solution

Dip your brush into the container, carefully avoiding the settled powder at the bottom. Only use the liquid to prevent imperfections in your print. Note that Matcha powder can cause more visible imperfections once dried, while dried Spirulina can be easily brushed away.

contact print spirulina anthotype

left: spirulina - right: matcha

6) Dry and Expose

Let the coated sheets dry in the dark. Once dry, expose them using a digital positive or a solid object (like a dried leaf). Due to the high volatility of alcohol, it evaporates quickly, especially with increased light and heat. This means your exposure time is fast—leave the sheets in direct sunlight for 3-4 hours.

What is a Digital Positive?

A digital positive is a clear film (also known as transparency or acetate) printed with a positive photographic image, typically using an inkjet printer. Digital positives are commonly used in alternative photographic processes to create high-quality prints.

Anthotypes created with Spirulina:

spirulina anthotype examples

Anthotypes created with Matcha

matcha anthotype examples

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