Saturday 21 November 2015

Great fun experimenting with collagraph

Earlier this year I spent a whole weekend playing with collagraph at Prospect Studios in Rossendale - it was something I'd been looking forward to for a long time and was great fun! Previously I'd used mount board as a plate and cut into it - and had added materials like tape, carborundum, wallpaper or glue. This was the chance to check out all the other things I'd spotted or read about printmakers using, from bubble wrap to food. Some were more successful than others, it's fair to say. I'll be using a blow torch again with tile grout and packing tape, for example, but probably giving linguine a miss for collagraph prints.

The prints I produced are below. You can also see the plates - some wood, some mount board, some metal. I've listed the materials used in each plate - and outlined the ones I liked and didn't, for my own reference and maybe other printmakers will find it helpful too. Thanks to Alan Birch and Jill Randall for a fantastic weekend workshop.

 Here are the plates, all shellac coated - with a mix of "ingredients" added:

Ply wood plate with lentils, carborundum, sticky back plastic (burnt with blow torch), glue

Mount board plate (cut into in places) plus bubble wrap, lentils, wallpaper, embroidery thread & cotton

Metal plate with tile grout, scratched into, carborundum, wallpaper, lentils, porridge, beads & glue 

Mount board plate with embroidery thread, tile grout (scratched into), pieces of material, sugar, carborundum and glue 

Mount board plate with added linguine pasta, porridge, lentils, carborundum, packing tape, tile grout, wallpaper, glue  

Wooden plate with tile grout, carborundum and sticky tape, burnt and distressed, using a blow torch

My favourite materials were the tile grout and sticky tape, especially when burnt. They make fantastic textural patterns. The tile grout once bubbled with heat will break up a bit in the press. Tile grout scratched into and left to dry was excellent, along with carborundum and sugar.

I liked the bubble wrap but it's hard to control the effect. Glue when used thickly was excellent. For me (in moderation!) the lentils and porridge were great. They need to be shellac-ed well or they will try to come off the plate under pressure.  The threads worked well - particularly the thicker embroidery thread.

Linguine was far too brittle. The beads were far too thick and deep. It didn't work well to have too much variation in depth, for example cutting into the mount board as well as adding bubble wrap. I also tried rolling over a relief colour into the linguine rooftops. There was too much depth in the plate for this to work effectively. Another lesson learnt!

It's a great effect for a simple plate, as shown below, from a previous occasion:

Close up of collagraph print of the Isola Bella in Taormina, Sicily, with a blue relief "roll-over"

Shallow mount board plate, cut into, with added sandpaper and glue

The same plate printed in mono.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative C.... Might give collograph another go now!