Sunday, January 15, 2017

Collagraph printing

During the week a friend helped me print some collagraph plates.  I had made the plates as part of a two day workshop - day 1 make the plates, day 2 print the plates - but we had headed off to Japan before day 2 so I never got to learn how to print them.

Altho I love printmaking I am a real novice and certainly don't know any tricks of the trade like I do with say book-making, so it was special to be able to spend time with a person who knows how to think about printmaking. Even tho she is an intaglio expert, she could guide me thru this relief printing process as well.

I dived in and over-inked straightaway! Laugh. If I had paid attention I would only have inked lightly and left more of those lovely empty spaces.

We tried a viscosity ink approach and I thinned ink, and used hard and soft rollers. I'm not sure I really got it, but I could see a few of the things that happened and understand why.

Inked and ready to go. I loved seeing these centre lines drawn on the plastic over the bed of the press - clearly to help with registration! 

How it looked after printing.  As ever, some interesting bits and pieces and so much analysis needed to understood why some parts work better than others. The plate, the amount of ink, the thickness of the ink, where I applied the ink, the sequence of colours, and so on and so forth.

I do love some corners, with the their empty spaces and sense of embossing.

A few notes and a nice still life.

And so I tried NOT to over ink the second plate, which worked well for the first layer of ink. Tick. Except afterwards, I wished I had inked the lower half as well. You live and learn don't you?

This ink really needed to be thinned far more than I did, which was a shame - it overpowered things by the end.

As evidenced!

Yet once again, I loved a few of the parts and the lovely texture and patterns they provided.

So much more to learn and practice, but I have a much better starting place than I did before this week. I learnt about barrier cream,  some registration tricks, how to let the blankets fall from the drum, what tape to use to mask off and so many more things. Spending time with artists in their studios you always learn so many extra bits that just add to your knowledge and make things easier and better. Thank you my friend!


  1. How wonderful to see your process of exploration & discovery here, Fiona! And, oh - those up-close sections...they are so tactile & appealing. It will be interesting to see where this will lead...
    Happy - creative - new week!

    1. Thanks Lisa - it was SUCH a process of exploration and whoops! learning...I love the segments and the sections and the details, not so much the whole; but you get a great idea of how tactile it is from them don't you? Onwards!

  2. Oh Fiona... welcome to my world. Love those collagraphs and great to see you got straight into viscosity inking. I see evidence of that braille paper in your print and it looks like you sealed the plate with shellac like I've been taught to do by Sue. Once you've finished printing with them they make fantastic book covers. Be careful... addiction might loom....

    1. Hmmm, I enter your world as a true novice as evidenced Lesley! Laugh. I made so many rookie mistakes, but I can begin to see a path forward...I imagine the plates would make GREAT book covers - woo hoo. Yes all plates were sealed with shellac; I love the golden look. Go well!

  3. "Ink lightly and leave empty spaces" seems like a good approach to more than just printmaking!


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