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Sarah Bourne Rafferty is consistently inspired by the natural world, be it her small back yard or adventures on mountain tops far away. She creates botanical prints using the cyanotype process. Her exploration of nature is an ever-evolving attempt to dissect what is happening with the changing of the seasons and how they can relate to communication.
Sarah is the founder of Atwater Designs, a cyanotype design studio that produces original cyanotypes, fine art prints and paper goods. She is also a teacher of photography to high school girls and finds working with students to be integral in her process. Sarah's work has been shown both nationally and internationally. She currently lives in West Chester, PA with her husband, John, and fur babies Tallie and Tigger.
“Walking in the woods and even through my backyard garden is the starting point of my creative process. It, in itself, is a meditation and reminds me daily how important it is to take note of where we are, and to breathe. There is nothing that helps to center me like being among the natural beauty of open spaces. I first experimented with cyanotypes and alternative process photography in college. I immediately fell in love with the techniques. I’m drawn to how the process incorporates the chemistry of photography and the tactile quality of printmaking while connecting me more fully to the natural world. Each cyanotype is a unique record of my time in nature: the light, the shadows, the wind, and the time of year. The poetry of the moment is marked on the page, never to be duplicated exactly the same way.”
About the process:
The cyanotype process is the oldest photographic process that begins by mixing a light-sensitive chemical solution, which is then painted onto paper. Once dry, I expose the paper to the sun with a plant or natural object touching the paper which is called a photogram. Once the paper has fully exposed, it is developed by using a water bath. The result is a white silhouette of the object on a Prussian blue background. Because of the chemicals used the result is always blue and white.
Sarah gives a portion of her proceeds to land and water conservation in southeastern Pennsylvania.