Saturday, 4 April 2009


I have just spent two Saturdays learning how to make a collagraph plate and prints from it. A collagraph print is a collage printmaking technique and a form of Intaglio printing. The collagraph plate is printed the same way as etchings, but also include the basic principle of relief printing.

Five of us went to Marianne's studio at Araluen (nearly 2 hours drive from home) where we had access to a good teacher and an etching press. My subject was "Abstract" - I made a background plate (A4 size) which I painted in yellow and the main plate which I painted cobalt blue - this of course became green when it was printed over the yellow. The red was added as hand colouring later. It was fun glueing all sorts of things like string, mesh, cardboard, tissue paper and lace to a base of matboard to make the plate. Waterproofing was thoroughly done with gesso and a coat of shellac. The plate cannot be very high as it has to fit through the press, and the lower as well as the higher part prints. Great variation in texture can be obtained but it's not easy working out the amount of ink (oil based) to leave on the plate for good printing. Tones can be adjusted by the strenth of the ink and the nature of the materials. Varnish on the parts one wants lighter makes it easier to reduce the ink there before printing. A form of registration is essential when printing more than one plate to make a print - hard work but very satisfying. I now have to print another plate at home without a press, so it will be interesting how it looks when completely hand done.

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