Adding texture

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I started this exercise by collecting together things that I could use to make an impression in the inked plate. I tried using objects such as leaves and string as masks, but the depth of the objects led to a huge halo around each object. I have seen this technique used in the past but with gelatine plates, where the objects can sink a little into the plate. I proceeded by pushing objects into the ink, removing them and then taking a print.

I experimented using textile medium for screen printing and block printing medium. The block printing medium gave a better quality print with richer colour, but the textile medium was better at picking up the finer details. Too much ink on the plate or too much pressure on the back of the paper caused spreading of ink across the print, losing all details.

I tried different papers, and the best prints were made on the smoother cartridge paper as opposed to watercolour or etching paper. The texture of the paper and inability to press too hard on the reverse of the paper made it very difficult to get a good print of the textures as they appeared on the plate. Wetting the paper just led to spreading of the ink and a completely blank print devoid of detail.

My most successful marks were with corrugated cardboard, textured wallpaper, dried slices of lemon, bubble wrap, fern leaves, lace, string and buttons.

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I then started work on a print based on my sketch of Durdle Door pictured in my last blogpost. I made a mask of the main shapes and also drew a reversed image on a sheet of paper to put beneath the glass for the later textured layers in the print. I printed the yellow part of the image in flat colour, and altered the blue by drawing into it with a silicone shaper. Registration marks were drawn directly onto the plate with watersoluble wax crayons in white. I used heavy watercolour paper as I thought it would add to the sandy texture, and the overall quality of the print is better than on cartridge paper.

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I worked a few versions of this print, but these are my favourites using a variety of mark making tools including bubble wrap, cotton buds, cocktail sticks, lace and corrugated cardboard.

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I also made a simple print of the water on a collage of tissue paper and a similar weight handmade paper.

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