Project 12: Collatype collage prints

Project 12: Collatype collage prints

This project requires that one works towards a series of representational images.

I created three of these images and printed them all at the same time, using a printing press. I did them all in a single colour, black, using water-based inks. I didn’t have time to experiment with different colours. And I know that in my previous experiments with colour, that I have always preferred black finally.

I tried out selective rolling and dabbing on a lino print and didn’t like the result at all.

I don’t actually like the examples of rainbow rolling shown in the course book, and didn’t feel inspired to emulate them, I’m afraid! I have tried it before, when I was making Christmas cards with lino blocks. It felt like something I was doing for the sake of it. I think these techniques maybe have to be called for by the image. Or maybe it’s because I’m still a beginner at printing and I still enjoy the sheer solidity of a single colour print, and get satisfaction as it emerges for the first time. I don’t quite welcome irregularity yet!

First image: Dordogne River bank

As the title suggest, I made this one while I was still in France, using many of the same materials that are on the test block.

I used mosses- different textures for the tree above and the undergrowth below. The tree trunk was cling wrap. The river was suggested by cut pieces of nylon string, and the longer grasses by short pieces of raffia, with the shorter grasses represented by broken pieces of spaghetti.

This was one that waited a long time to be revealed, having traveled back in the suitcase. I suspected it might be a bit fussy, and it is.

I think it might now benefit from being overprinted with some blocks of colour, perhaps using masking. But I don’t have printing medium to make my inks transparent, and no one I’ve asked seems to know what I’m talking about, so this won’t work with the materials I have at present. Another option would be to create a coloured layer first, either using masking or by the application of chine colle, before doing reprints. I’m not sure I want to bother though, as I don’t think this image is worth it.

Second image: townscape

This one works well, I think, and I’m quite excited by its possibilities. It’s another example of the “less is more” principle.

It was an idea I had some time ago, when sketching in Spain, that the landscape looked “knitted” and I planned to use knitting to created texture in printing. This was the first piece of knitting I had done in years, and I tried to make it as rough as possible, by using two different sized needles, and created irregular stitches throughout. The outline should suggest a skyline, with the cut-off ends of the wool suggestive of smoke, cloud, roads, river. It was stuck down onto a piece of mounting board and glued over several times.

Technical problem- because of the large amount of empty space, there was a lot of ink got rolled onto it- I couldn’t ink selectively because of the thin strands to be covered. The edge of the roller tended to made a clear mark on the white, even though I used the biggest roller I could. I tried leaving it, and tried wiping it. In the end I prefer the wiped version, with its suggestion of shadow, cloud or mist. This is one that I plan to work on, adding layers either through masking or chine colle. So I will now re-glue it to work with it again.

Third image: reclining nude

This was a quick collage, based on a life drawing I did recently. Again it uses wool to create a linear image, and lengths of jute string, as well as fine cuttings of jute and raffia to create texture. I like the clear contrasts in texture that results here, and the flat image, a bit reminiscent of a Matisse picture. There was the same problem here of large empty areas that would attract the ink, but this time it was possible, because of the shape of the overall image, to make it more of a virtue- the ink could be rolled on diagonally in ways that complemented the overall shape.

We are asked to explore different printing techniques, and the course folder states “Here are 2 ways in which you can print more than one colour at once”, and proceeds to outline only one, rainbow rolling. Because of the uneven textures of these collatype blocks and the necessity to roll the ink in several directions, I don’t think rainbow rolling is at all appropriate for the blocks I have made, so I will try out the ideas I have suggested above. I also note that the image accompanying the instruction about rainbow rolling shows it being applied to a lino block, NOT a collage block.

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One thought on “Project 12: Collatype collage prints

  1. I like the knitting! Very much.

    Like me, you get annoyed when the course materials have illustrations which don’t exactly fit in with the project in question! I just feel this wouldn’t be good enough in an instructional sort of book (because I have several of those on printmaking on the shelves now), so why do we get it in the OCA course materials?

    But I think other problems come out of the fact that although we’re new to printmaking, so need to work through this first level course, in other ways we’re really a bit ahead of where some of it’s at.

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