Participant Blog – Becca Frances

Cyanotype and Circles

Our last blog post for our 2021 Online Exhibition is written by Becca Frances. Becca previously lead Fun A Day Dundee a few years ago before involving coordinator Sam Sherriff. Today we hear how Fun A Day 2021 came at a cruicial time of year for Becca, as many people also experienced after 2020 and a quiet Christmas.

My Fun A Day project this year was, as it is every year that I take part, much needed. Often January is a difficult time. It is dark, wet, and cold. The month of January is promoted in social media and advertising as a time of change and transformation. I believe it is used to make people feel inadequate and coax them into spending money on self-help books, sports equipment, and yoga classes. I feel that participating in Fun A Day is a way to resist these temptations and still find that January can be a time of change and transformation. When you are taking part, you place your focus onto a project that cannot fail. It can provide the opportunity to change and transform your creative practices or give you the head space needed to change and transform your mental state and it provides a goal to reach each day without the pressure of success.

This year Fun A Day felt more important than ever for me. As Lockdown continued and I struggled to maintain my mental health, it provided me with a sense of purpose and the headspace I needed to get through the difficult month. I also felt as though all artistic creativity and skill may have left me after a term of writing and assessments and 6 tough weeks of a nursing placement. I wanted to prove to myself that I could still make things and enjoy the creative process without the pressure of making perfect pieces of work. I decided it was time to crack open the cyanotype kit I had received from my partner for my birthday in November. It was a little daunting as I had never even seen the process of cyanotype making in real life before, only ogled Instagram perfect pictures on my phone of the beautiful blue and white creations of others. I began using the kit and following the instructions with no idea that the cyanotype process is rarely, if ever, done in natural light during the winter months. The process uses UV light which is weak and often non-existent during a Scottish winter. However, I was quite pleased with my first creations using the hour of sunlight that sped through a small corner of our bedroom almost every day in the first week of January. I started by simply developing the cyanotype chemicals on paper with an object placed on top.

I chose to work around the theme of circles as I enjoy a challenge and I wanted to fill my Instagram feed with lots of circles. On days when there was little to no sun, I would post pictures of circles that I found whilst walking and exploring my local area. I enjoy the process of looking for these things, it becomes a game and you start seeing circles everywhere, it is also fun to get others involved. On these walks I would collect natural objects such as dried plants and seeds for my cyanotype projects.

The cyanotype process pretty much took over my life for the month of January I was always trying to get one more cyanotype made and having new ideas or things I wanted to try.

There was evidence of my cyanotype addiction in every room of the flat. I was using multiple frames and had dried plants and objects all over the place. I thoroughly enjoyed my Fun A Day project this year, it supported my mental and physical wellbeing, gave me an excuse to try something new, get outside and allowed me the opportunity to share it with the FAD community.

Thanks Becca!

You can follow Becca on Instagram here!

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