MMT4 Workbook 2 pages 101-169
Whilst working on the previous assignments in this course, I had several opportunities to experiment with collagraph printing at local classes by glueing collected items onto cardboard. Inspiration in the first instance was taken from Val Holmes’ book, Collage Stitch Print.
The first was a selection of different sticky tape. I had been looking forward to this but it didn’t work at all well. The plate had been sealed with acrylic gel medium and the brush-lines seems to have greater texture than the tape , also the print was taken by hand and burnished with a wooden spoon which left marks. A sliver of the print is to the right of the board below. Repeating the exercise without sealing and using a press would probably produce a significantly better result.
Two small plates were created with some fancy leaf tea and raffia, stuck to the card with double sided tape and varnished to seal. Both produced good loose marks and the materials have potential, but a more skilfully applied oil based ink might produce a better outcome.
Developing an idea from Val Holmes’ book, the following plate was created by painting a shiny piece of card with gesso, then adding a selection of sticky dots, hole punched card and dots, sealed with soft gel acrylic medium.
I was quite pleased with the initial prints taken by hand onto newsprint and deli paper with a solid rolling pin covered with plumbers insulation foam. I like the rough uneven texture of the brush marks and the imperfect nature of the print.
Returning to the plate with more experience, using oil based inks, a little burnishing and damp Pink Pig 270g water colour paper more variation in tone was achieved in the following print. Conversely, in this, perhaps ‘better quality print’, the brush marks from the soft acrylic used to seal the plate are more evident than I’d like, but overall the effect of pva dots, ‘stickers’ or fairly thin paper or card cut into shapes and stuck on gives good definition.
Using a substantial cardboard cakeboard, returning to my enjoyment of loose weave fabrics and curves, a block was made with silk habotai, hessian, cotton scrim, fine gauze bandage, polyester voile, aida cotton and nylon insect netting. Printed by hand with an insulation foam covered rolling pin and speedball printing ink onto some lightweight hand made paper, I was really pleased with the variety of textures produced, particularly the crumpled habotai silk at the bottom of the circle.
Printing the same block later with stay open Hawthorn inks and a press captured even more detail. The first was a little heavy handed on the ink in places, but showed lovely detail. Its tactile and alive, I can almost feel it, with the characteristics of each material well defined. I’m so excited by the movement of the scrim and the silk.
Another print was taken experimenting further with mixing the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow stay open inks and more attention to burnishing with very satisfying results. The ripples of the fabric contrast with the more geometric markings of the grid-like netting and the aida in the middle creates gentle curves. Careful burnishing brought some lovely colour variations and difference in value particularly in the blue and purple silk and scrim areas.
The original plate is also a delightful, tactile combination of hills, valleys and gently rippling water.
Continuing to take inspiration from Collage Stitch Print, a combination of lace, ribbon and cotton tapes were used for the following collagraph which was first printed by hand onto deli paper with speedball ink.
At the time I was quite pleased with the above print, but was absolutely delighted with the following onto damp ‘bread and butter’ paper from Ochre Print Studio, stay open inks and a press. The colour in the photograph is not quite as intense as the actual print which has a lovely velvety quality and is beautifully embossed on the reverse.
The opportunity to print well from jute scrim couldn’t be missed. Taking inspiration from Kim Major-George’s book, the scrim was stuck to a board cut in an irregular shape, sealed with acrylic gel and inked with a toothbrush. It proved difficult to burnish but produced a lively detailed print, really capturing the movement of the warp and weft and hairiness of the fibres and is well embossed on the reverse.
Damp paper, Hawthorn stay open ink, portable etching press.
Developing use of fruit net, explored in an earlier assignment, a net was stuck to cardboard with masking tape and lots of prints were taken by hand, some layered and some printed from the brayer onto cartridge paper, crumpled brown paper, cotton gauze, newsprint in a playful and experimental way.
Taking it to the next level, with the benefit of stay open inks and a press produced rich colour and enhanced detail.
The masking tape holding the net to the front of the card picked up lots of ink which was unintentional and disappointing in some prints, but added contrast in others and illustrates the potential qualities of masking tape for picking up dense colour.
A further block was prepared using various netting, sequin waste, sandpaper and masking tape. Continuing with a playful approach, lots of hand prints were taken with Georgian water mixable oil colour on a variety of papers including abaca and lens tissue, music and newsprint, some layered and some collaged.
Using stay open inks, a press and damp paper, the same plate produced some lovely marks with the sandpaper particularly effective in providing rich colour. The plastic nature of several of the materials was less appealing to work with than fabric, the cut edges catching on the scrim and tissue used for burnishing, although the resulting print was satisfying. In preparing the plate, using repetition to create continuity, each material was used three times, and the design loosely emanates from the centre of the block.
Enjoying the circular form of the cake board and taking the idea of drawing with PVA from Kim Major-George’s book ‘A Journey Through Texture’, two plates were prepared by drawing through the nozzle with Evostick waterproof wood glue. The spiral was just glue and the wet glue of the drawn circles was sieved with carborundum which holds the ink well and produces rich velvety colour. The plates were inked with a toothbrush and burnished well with tissue paper and scrim and produced a visually appealing series. The deep indigo of the carborundum circles and their irregularity contrast with the perfect circle of the cardboard plate and the subtle softness of the backgrounds burnished with different fabrics and in analogous blues are effective.
Holmes V (2012) Collage Stitch Print, Batsford, London
Major-George, K (2011) Collagraph A Journey Through Texture, Major Impact