Project 11 Making a test collage block

I completed this project before going to India, but have not had time to write up my notes properly yet. I approached it by brainstorming different materials that I could use, and deciding which textures would look very different against one another. I used hardboard from the back of a clip frame, and filled the clip holes with polyfilla. The base board was sealed with modpodge before the textures were applied. I took this photo whilst the glue was still wet to demonstrate the patterns drawn in glue. Top row, left to right: Sandpaper, elastic bands and metal objects, various weights of cotton and hessian, dried rose petals, skeleton leaf, cotton gathered in a smocking machine, foil wrapper, heat treated Tyvek, pheasant feathers, lace, crocheted wool and packing plastic cord. Bottom row, left to right: vegetable bag, textured wallpapers and khadi paper, wood glue (some drawn into with a skewer), tea bags, mulberry bark, hemp string, masking fluid pen, tissue paper. The whole block was sealed with modpodge and a final layer of acrylic varnish.

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All the textures printed well giving interesting results, and I was particularly pleased with the gathered fabric. I had used the sandpaper as a substitute for carborandum, used to print areas where denser inking is required. This seemed to have the desired effect. Heat treated Tyvek and foil looked very similar in the final print. I had made some smaller test collages before completing the final piece, and felt that the resulting prints had an almost photographic quality to them. I made two impressions of the sample collage, one on Somerset Satin and one on Rives paper. It didn’t fit into my desktop press, so was handprinted. On the smaller prints, slightly different effects were achieved with the press. More embossed with lots of detail despite the inability to vary pressure in lighter and darker areas. The press did have a tendancy to slip ever so slightly on occasion and it was tricky to get the pressure right on different thickness boards.

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I made another board in the same fashion as in the Printmaking Handbook on Collatypes. After gluing veg bags and other textured materials to the board, I smeared the board with Pollyfilla. pushing objects into it to make impressions and sanded it slightly once dried. I then stabilised the plaster with Modpodge and sealed as before with acrylic varnish. The resulting block gave a better print when inked heavily.




At the same time I made a plastered plate with various indentations made with a small scalpel, modelling tools, string and mulberry bark. This was my favourite of the two prints, and felt that the marks were strong and well defined.


The final part of this project was to experiment using more than one colour per print in a number of ways. I tried the following techniques as labelled below. I had used the rainbow rolling technique in the reduction linocut, and think that it worked to greater effect on a smooth surface, The differences between dab printing and rainbow rolling were not hugely different.

Layering colours

Layering colours

Rainbow rolling

Rainbow rolling

Dab printing

Dab printing



As you can see, I had a few problems with registration when layering colours, as the block wasn’t entirely square after collaging. I tried using a jig, but the dampness of the paper meant that an embossed ghost of the jig was on each of the prints. I quite liked the misregistration when it was only very slight, as it added to the embossing to give an illusion of a third dimension. For this block, I felt that the masking technique was most effective. I thnk the sharpness of the colour division worked well with the definition of the marks.


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