Nina's Textile Trail 2

– Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT4 – Monoprinting – Exercise 1 Mark-making


MMT 4 Workbook 1 pages 1 – 37

Exercise 1 – Mark-making

Using various tools, a paint shaper, cotton bud, glue applicator, credit card, marks were made into speedball textile paints on a laminated sheet of A4 and printed onto newsprint and japanese rice paper by hand.  An efficient hand made roller was recommended by a local embroidery teacher using plumbers’ insulating foam wrapped around a length of broomstick or wooden dowel.   It was an interesting exercise to explore different tools and by layering prints, the results had more depth.  The top right print on rice paper had a lovely delicate translucency and overall the marks were energetic.  In this instance the uneven application of ink produced a variety of tones and contrasting marks.

Still using speedball inks and hand printing the following prints included offset marks using the roller, criss cross lines from a grouting tool and dots made with a cotton bud.  Two pieces of torn paper were used as masks in the right hand print and were laid ink side down on the left hand print. Both were printed in red on discarded weak practice prints in yellow ink.

On the right, the sharp contrast of the white against the red and the detail of the torn edges of paper was effective. The print is quite static and calm whilst the grouting tool producing diagonal lines on the left hand print is more dynamic.

I have some experience of monoprinting by hand, learnt from books and friends during the Level 1 A Creative Approach course and have tried a glass plate, gelatin plate, a wooden spoon as a brayer, acrylic paint with and without extender/textile medium, block printing ink, textile paints all of which can be used to produce textural prints as part of a design process.  To further my knowledge for this assignment, I went to a weekend monoprint workshop at Ochre Print Studio in Guildford.   Using Hawthorn Stay Open inks, good quality dry cartridge paper and dry Arches 88, the following prints were printed on a large floor press.  Mark making tools included half a wooden clothes peg, kebab and cocktail stick, a crimped pastry cutter, soft gauze and cotton scrim.   The difference in the prints is evident, a really smooth even colour is possible and if sufficient ink is removed from the plate, marks can be made without a shadow created by excess ink.   For textile art purposes, its just a different look, another tool in the design process.  That said, it is very satisfying to work on technique with good materials and equipment and to achieve bold sharp prints with clearly defined marks.  I am really excited by visual texture, printing offers infinite mark making potential and encourages me to be playful, so developing these skills feels like an important part of my practice.

The top right and left prints are both on Arches 88 paper which is very absorbent and enables a smooth matt finish. The energy and contrast between the blue and white is dynamic whilst the increased ‘noise’ and delicate lines on the cartridge paper created by cloth, scrim and cocktail stick in the bottom prints add a different dimension.

I am very fortunate to have a friend who has lent me a portable etching press, enabling me to continue my exploration into mark-making with a press at home.

My first effort was a little disappointing.  Using dry cartridge paper and a fine roller application of Georgian water mixable oil paints on cream cartridge paper produced an indistinct print where the marks are barely evident, the ink was not absorbed and is still sticky.


Trying again with Ochre Print Studio ‘bread & butter’ paper  and Cobra Royal Talens water mixable oil colour and a dot of washing up liquid.  The result shows potential but the paint doesn’t have a good ‘feel’ to it and is still sticky, two weeks later. I particularly like the marks made for wheat like seed head on the right middle created with a glue spreader.


Another attempt with with Pink Pig 270g watercolour paper, Georgian water mixable oil colour in ultramarine, burnt umber and white with a touch of Cobra Turquoise blue was more exciting, drawn in haste in my enthusiasm with a glue spreader and cotton bud.


I love the energy, particularly the lines of the crocosmia type leaves and the effect of slightly too much paint creating a dark line to one side of each leaf.

Monoprinting with Paper Clay Slip

(Boxed samples to Tutor, awaiting prints for workbook)

On a workshop at West Dean College, blogged here  MMT Part 3 Molding & Casting – Paper Clay, I had the opportunity to monoprint with paper clay slip.  The paper clay slip is shown in the top left picture.

First the plaster of paris slab was painted or stamped in the chosen design with Amaco velvet underglaze using a paintbrush.  The stamp was sponge with the pattern cut into it with a soldering iron. (Using a heat tool with sponge creates fumes and should be done in well ventilated area).

Once the pattern was on the plaster of paris slab, the paper clay slip was brushed on top of the painted design.  It was applied in a thin layer and allowed to dry before the next layer was added.  I think I used three or four coats.  It is difficult to determine how much is required.  If too much is used it will crack on firing, but too much and the delicate finish possible with paper clay will be lost.


The water in the slip evaporates and is absorbed by the plaster of paris slab within a few hours.  At this stage, the paper clay is like leather and can be carefully peeled away from the slab.  The clay has absorbed the colour leaving no trace on the plaster of paris slab.

The pieces were then left to dry more before firing which was done by Technicians at West Dean College and collected at a later date.  The pieces are so delicate and the monoprint really clear.  I was delighted with and how easy the process was if you have the materials to hand.  If the firing was more practical I could be very tempted to explore paper clay further, the fired pieces are lovely but the leaves are sublime, take a look, if you haven’t already.  MMT Part 3 Molding & Casting – Paper Clay


For information,  Body stain (powdered underglaze pigment)  can also be used instead of Amac velvet underglaze.  Powdered underglazes can also be mixed with paper clay slip.


Monoprinting using Finish Dishwasher Liquid to discharge colour 

MMT workbook 1 pages 34-36

During a guest tutor workshop, ‘Make your Mark with discharge printing and stitch’ with Clive Barnett at In Stitches, Finish Dishwasher Liquid was used to monoprint onto different weights of commercial black fabric from an acrylic sheet.  Top left used masking tape as a mask onto lightweight linen and dishwasher liquid applied to the acrylic sheet with a brush. Bottom left used some stencils as a mask onto black muslin and right used paint brush marks onto medium weight linen.  The printed cloth was dried with a hairdyer, ironed between baking paper, rinsed in plain water and washed by hand in Woolite.  The following have been machine washed and dried too.  The weave of the fabric adds interest and all three discharged well creating lovely grounds for stitch.

It was an easy process which could be done in the home studio, much easier and more user friendly than bleach and less smelly and expensive than discharge paste.  It works with cottons & linens.  For silk, I understand Jacquard discharge paste is more suitable.







2 thoughts on “MMT4 – Monoprinting – Exercise 1 Mark-making

  1. I like your point about the shadow from the paint. I’d never considered that.

  2. Pingback: Monoprinting with Paper Clay Slip | Nina's Textile Trail 2

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