Nina's Textile Trail 2

– Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT 4 – Monoprinting – Exercise 4 Working with stencils


MMT4 Workbook 1 pages 66-91

Working at Ochre Print Studio, torn paper strips were used as masks using Hawthorn stay open inks and floor press. Circles were then painted onto a clean plate using unextended ink and drawn into with a kebab stick and hand printed with gentle pressure.


The same process was used for the following print which was printed onto a discarded pale yellow print resulting in a lovely combination of colours.


Returning to the course notes, we were asked to use simple paper masks to create printed shapes.  Quick sketches were made of two vases and photocopied to create masks.


The remaining prints have been taken using a borrowed portable etching press and CMK Hawthorn stay open inks at home.

The first print used the negative space as a mask and was printed onto a page from an A-Z


Although pleasing, using the positive shape of the other vase was more appealing, beautifully framing the town of Ashtead, Surrey.


As the paper is quite shiny, the ink wasn’t absorbed and didn’t give full coverage, allowing the map to show through slightly and creating a lovely spidery halo to the vase.

Excited by the apparent use of a solvent to create background spots in Sophie LeCuyer’s work, a negative space mask was used to create the blue vase.  Once the ink was rolled onto the plate, it was sprayed with a fine mist of white spirit.  With a little patience a dotty effect was revealed.  It proved difficult to register the print well, or perhaps I mismatched the negative and positive images from different originals, so I was a little disappointed that the following didn’t quite reach its potential.  I was delighted with the effect of the white spirit on the blue and the contrast of the orange, both mixed from CMY inks, but disappointed that the positive and negative images didn’t line up.


The following registration worked well, the background was a ghost print onto deli paper and the orange brushed onto the plate for the second print, but unfortunately the stay open inks ‘stayed open’ and the orange has not dried but remains open and sticky on the surface of the slightly waxed surface of the deli paper.


Slightly frustrated with the difficulty of lining up the prints, the negative mask was used to produce the following black vase which was then overprinted with a entire plate of rust ink, the soft, slightly transparent paper took the ink well, together with the chinagraph markings which I though were on the reverse of the plate!


Continuing with the ‘cheats’ method of over printing the masked shape, I was delighted with the following.  The positive mask was used to produce the black starry background, brush thinner was sprayed onto the plate to create the stars which were larger and appeared more quickly than using white spirit.  The print was put through the press a second time with the pale peach/tan ink.


To complement this print, the negative mask of the taller vase was used to print the black on some delicious chappra tissue which was then overprinted with a pale brown ink. The result was a lovely aged effect.


Both prints were complimented by the addition of the positive mask used with black ink and a spray of brush thinners.


Lastly in this series, I returned to attempt printing the negative and positive masks on the same paper.  Although the result has potential, the registration was careless with the black extending below the orange and the low tac masking tape tore the paper (which is not shown here).


A tidier result was achieved by overprinting the positive mask with a strong rust ink.  Both prints were very satisfying.



Moving on to use plant material as a mask, this fern was printed onto a piece of calico which had been ironed to freezer paper to keep it flat.


The ghost print onto newsprint shows some lovely detail of the veins of the bracken and the weave of the fabric.


Some Hakonechloa grass was laid onto an inked plate which had been sprayed with brush thinner and then printed onto some hand dyed cotton.


The contrast and the background are very effective, but I was even more excited by the ghost onto newsprint in spite of the yellow blobs of not very well mixed ink.


Removing the grass and putting it to one side, ink side up, the plate was re-inked and sprayed, the grass laid back onto the plate, some marks added with a kebab stick and a print taken on 9g lens tissue which is beautifully transparent.


Thinking about combining some of the techniques, marks were made into the pink vase with scrim and for the second run through the press, the blue space left by the positive mask was marked with a paintbrush.  This was more carefully registered, the subtle marks and resultant print showing how much I have learned about the inks and the process.


Wanting to see the effect of the more textured surface of the NOT cold pressed  Fabriano 5 paper, the cyan and magenta inks were mixed and painted onto the the plate, with delicately textured results.


Combining the use of masks with backdrawing. Although quite effective, I think this would have been more appealing if the vase hand been coloured by printing or watercolour.


In the following the vase was printed with scrim marks brushed onto plate but the colours were too similar.  Adding the backdrawing has redeemed the print producing some lovely qaulities.  The colours and fuzzy lines of the back drawing suggest age.


The following is a ghost drawing of the acrylic plate used for the above back drawing.  The vase design has been subtracted from the black ink.  The lovely texture of the loose weave cotton adds to the print which has similarly aged qualities to the above.


Another ghost print was possible onto 9g lens tissue/tissuetex which would lend itself to collage or further design work.


During a recent workshop, similar masks were used with Finish dishwasher liquid to discharge colour from cotton corduroy and stitched into.  Its difficult to see the detail in the photograph but the text achieved on the corduroy is mottled and effective and I will definitely experiment with it again in future.




2 thoughts on “MMT 4 – Monoprinting – Exercise 4 Working with stencils

  1. I love your grass prints and really admire the patience and attention to detail you show here, with lovely results. This process has been driving me crazy!

  2. I was driven by the need to control the ink! or do I mean understand the process and the materials…. Happy printing, I look forward to seeing your progress.

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