Assignment 4: Collatype Collage Block

Task 1 (Project 11) Textured collage test block

Man-made materials


Top row: washers, canvas stretchers, cutting of lace, couscous grains, tinfoil, bubble wrap

Bottom row: elastic bands, paperclip/ small nails/ cotton buds, jute string, rice grains, cuttings of string, cord

Printed using A2 cartridge paper with water-based inks.

This was printed using a press so the impression is stronger than would be the case by hand. The corrugated cardboard is also creating texture.

The small objects, such as washers, stretchers and elastic bands work well- they have a clear shape, yet are ambiguous. Images such as paper clips just look like what they are, and so are perhaps less useful, unless repeated, so that they might take on a different look viewed together. Other materials create interesting textures- I can see that couscous and rice could be used to create quite regular patterns, for example suggesting shading in an outline shape. The jute string also, when it’s snipped, creates fine fibrous patterns. Aluminum foil can be manipulated to some extent to suggest a shape. I like the idea of using string to create line drawings with texture added.

I did two of these test blocks: they can be seen here in the blog.

Task 2 (Project 12) 3 versions of a collatype block

Reclining Nude 1

This is printed in water-based inks, black, on A2 cartridge paper, and printed using a printing press.

I like the darkness of the black background- it’s solidity comes from using the press, and wouldn’t have been so dense done by hand. The design is a simplification of a sketch done at a life drawing session and uses wool for the outline. I made as much of the body shape as possible using a single thread, mush as I warm up at life-drawing sessions by drawing without lifting the pencil. The outline of the floor covering is drawn in jute string, which has a different texture from the wool. The texturing on the floor is snipped raffia, while the background lines (light rays/ pencils/ brushes)  are short raffia strands. I like the clear contrasts in this image: black/ white: soft/ hard: straight/ curved: movement/ stillness. The posture of the body suggests self-protection against the sharp lines: the body is still, while the background lines seem to be moving. Turning it into a line drawing from the original sketch has made it a flat image rather than the realistic one it started as. There’s even perhaps, a suggestion of a chalked outline of a dead body, reinforcing the idea of the move from living to lifeless.

The blog on this image and the original sketch are here, as well as other experiments in collatype printing.

Reclining Nude 2

This version is printed using oil-bsed inks, by hand on Chinese calligraphy paper. It has been dabbed with colours using a dabber- yellow, red and green on a blue/ black background. Then it has been dabbed again with a turpentine soaked cloth to dissolve the colours and take advantage of the absorbency of the calligraphy paper.

Overall, the effect is softer than the single colour thicker ink versions. The background dissolving has creating nice watercolour type effects. The colours blend into one another- that has to happen anyway, since it’s not possible to clean the block thoroughly after inking, being covered with very fibrous materials. The finished effect, however, is unlike anything I can imagine achieving using any other media. I can’t help feeling how rough and uncontrolled it looks though, but maybe that’s just because I’m aware of the process dictating that.

Reclining Nude 3

Other experiments are shown here.

I wanted to achieve much stronger colour and thought this would be the best way to achieve it. I could have monoprinted the body shape, either before or afterwards, using a mask. but I thought including texture from crushed tissue paper would match better the textured background. I really like this one, and it tends to recall my earlier masked monoprints of the crucifixion, suggesting two elements of the person, gently separating. I could have added more colours, but think this is appropriate- there is a central image and it puts the focus on it and nothing else. The glue under the tissue has also had the effect of bringing out the ink more intensively, and the effect is almost of charcoal, somewhat like charcoal lines on a rough surface in cave paintings.

This print is on A2 Susuki Rainbow white 160 gsm paper- it is very white and very smooth and feels nice to work with. It has printed quite sharply, considering this is hand-done.

To be honest, I didn’t think this would be as satisfying as it has been. In fact though, I do enjoy the tactile, trial and error aspect of it. It’s been a case of playing around with things and seeing what’ll work. I have not sketched for this assignment, although I made use of a sketch that I already had. It’s been much more of a hands-on, intuitive process. I enjoyed knitting a print at last, something I’d been wanting to do!  I really like this way of producing images. One of the nice aspects is the fact that when you show people the prints they can’t immediately tell how it was done.


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