MMT4 Workbook 2 Pages 208-209
Inspired to print from stitch by Val Holmes’ book, Collage Print Stitch, a branch design was free-stitched onto Thermogauze, a stabiliser which is removed by ironing. The gauze was placed between two sheets of baking paper and ironed. I wasn’t sure how the thermogauze would react, not having used it before. Initially, nothing appeared to happen but when touched, the ironed gauze could be crumbled away. I chose to leave some around the edge of the stitching and didn’t stick it to something to make a more rigid structure.
The stitched branch was laid onto an inked plate and put through the press.
I was a little surprised not to see more detail as the gauze was quite a loose weave, but the stitching was carefully lifted off the plate and a ghost print taken. The lovely delicate detail of the machine stitch and supporting gauze stabiliser was revealed. The pale yellow residue of paint and white halo offsets the the detail of the branch beautifully.
The inked, stitched material was quite difficult to control and when trying to ink it, it rolled around the brayer causing a little frustration, producing the following, slightly scruffy, but energetic image,
which has been stitched into.
Laying the stitching onto an inked plate, running it through the press, then removing the stitching and placing it onto a clean plate ink side up produced a successful positive image with a stronger form and 3D appearance, aided by the accidental specks of magenta ink.
putting the prints together and laying the original stitch piece onto the first print made an interesting series.
MMT4 Workbook 2 pages 197a-207
Continuing the with exploration of stitch, using inspiration from a quick A2 sketch of mine from West Dean Gardens,
an A4 acetate sheet was machine-stitched with two different weights of cotton thread, a little hastily – I see now that pre-drawing the scene would have been advisable, but for the purpose of seeing how the stitch prints , it has been very successful.
Some areas were ‘stitched’ without thread with the needle (100/16 Jeans needle) piercing the acetate. The sheet buckled as more stitch was added, so was sewn to a piece of card for the first print run. Although hastily sewn, with questionable application of ink and poor burnishing in places, the result was exciting with definite potential for further development. Using different weights of thread, hand and machine stitch, so many individual patterns and textures could be produced.
The stitched lines with quite tight top tension make the holes in the acetate more prominent giving quite a different look to the thicker thread layered and the ink well burnished in the bottom right creating a knobbly leaf and stalk. The machine thread used for the grass at the bottom of the plate produced finer quality marks when compared with the heavier thread used for some of the plants. The over-inking has created a slightly sinister jungle effect.
Thinking about different materials which could easily be machine stitched for the next block, an A4 sheet of tyvek was used based on the same sketch as above, but taking a little more time to prepare the design.
The burgundy branches are a combination of hemp thread glued to the tyvek with some added machine stitch. The right hand tree is glued silk habotai. All the black stitch is free machined. the grey is hand sewn and the bottom left is some sisal and retted linen. A sprinkling of carborundum was used for the path.
I learnt a lot with this plate. The Tyvek was thin enough for the hand stitches from the front and back to show through, giving quite a lively sketched look which was quite unintended. I didn’t seal the plate as I wanted the surface texture of the thread and silk to influence the print. This was effective but hadn’t appreciated that excess PVA would affect the application of ink or that the Tyvek would absorb ink making it difficult determine what had been burnished.
The first print was over-inked, but the materials needed to absorb the ink to improve following prints and the result was quite moody.
The combination of black stay open ink and linseed reducing jelly, burnished well and rubbed with blue is delightfully moody, atmospheric and moonlit.
In the following, the plate was inked and burnished, then rolled with a brayer giving denser tone to the raised areas and the pva path which by this, the fifth print, was picking up more ink. The variety in values gives the print more interest .
A ghost print on hand dyed muslin is fine, but a little dull and could be improved with some stitching.
Lovely tones and textures were achieved below by inking an acrylic plate, putting the Tyvek collagraph face down, running through the press to transfer the ink to the Tyvek, then printing from the Tyvek onto the paper through the press. The detail of the texture is enhanced, heightening the contrast between the marks, but some darker marks, perhaps with stitch, would add value.
The following ghost of the above plate has the added texture of the warp and weft of the cotton fabric, is beautifully tactile, with even more detail in the delicate marks.
The loose sketchiness of the printing is very appealing although the arrangement of materials in the centre of the print could be improved upon.
Using stitch combined with different materials to create collagraph plates was a rich learning experience which I look forward to developing in the future. There wasn’t time to explore soluble material, would soluble film or thread act like breakdown printing? How many textures could be effectively printed from materials cut with a soldering iron, plastics joined with an iron, part disintegrated with a heat gun? Laurie Rudling’s delicate use of colour and layered cardboard method’s weren’t explored. I wanted to print with procion dye paste and print a collagraph plate with discharge paste onto fabric, pierce plates with different sized needles by hand, with the sewing machine, needle punch, print from fabric couched and embedded with fibres using the embellisher, cut and peel mountboard and more.