Behind the Print: Cyanograph

This season our Autumn Winter 16 Collection is made up of an eclectic mix of hand painted prints, taking inspiration from two dimensional and three dimensional views, expressed through the lens of a photographer’s camera and the hands of a sculptor. Our in house artist Lisa Berridge tells us everything we need to know about our newest design to the Jigsaw print family, the Cyanograph.

For those who don’t know, what does Cyanograph mean?

Cyanograph is a really old technique used in in photography many years ago, before different printing techniques were available to us.  The procedure involves chemicals that you apply to a surface in the dark. From there an image is placed on top of the surface and covered by a piece of glass (or acetate) before it’s exposed to sunlight for eight minutes; the finish is a beautiful effect. When I created the Cyanograph Floral print [a floral print where the same technique is applied], I laid out pieces of foliage onto fabrics that I’d picked from my local park.

Your good friend Justyna Michalowska created the Cyanograph Block print. Can you tell us a bit about her?

Yeah, sure! She’s a textile designer who’s been in the industry for 15 years. She works for lots of different brands, mostly designer levels like Celine, and she does everything by hand. She has introduced me into a different ways of working with acid dyes, reactive dyes and discharge.

Can you tell us a bit about the discharge process and what it involves?

Discharge is when you bleach out colour away from dye. The technique is mostly used to achieve bright colours on dark bases; it gives a beautiful effect.

What makes this this print special to you and Justyna?

I think what we love about this print is it really brought our story together. We felt that the photography element we were trying to achieve came through, showing the different exposures. For us it was a print that said it all.

How long did it take to finish?

It took Justyna about three days. There are a lot of layers that go into making a print like this. Each stage takes such a long time because you have to steam the fabric in between each and every process.

Why is that?

Because you need the dye to fix into the fabric so you’re able to achieve layers without running, merging, or losing them.  I don’t think people realise how much work goes into these prints. In order to get that type of depth, it takes a while to achieve it.

How do our prints set us apart from other retailers on the high street?

Easy – the process and the lengths that we go to. As far as I’m concerned no one else goes to these lengths. Most companies on the high street will buy their prints in, but to actually do them by hand is truly unique; it could be hand painted onto paper, made with pastels or dyed straight onto silk.

We’re at a point where 90 percent of our prints are hand painted in house and we also work with collaborators – so different prints are coming in that way – but they’ve also started from hand. I think that’s part of our ethos; unique and very hands on.


Shop the Cyanograph Block Silk Dress

Shop the Cyanograph Block Knit



Edited by Nakhalar Sterling

Author: Jigsaw

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