24 April 2017
Project 2, Exercise 1 – Create a collage block
This exercise was purely about creating a collage block to explore the possibilities of collatype printing. The course notes gave detailed instructions on how to produce the sampler.
My piece of mount-board was between A4 and A3 sized, so I was able to comfortably accommodate 12 different sections. I had lots of ideas and would have liked to experiment further, but because I was limited in time and materials, I tried to choose diverse surfaces including fabric, natural materials, synthetics, stitched materials and abrasive grit.
I started by applying a layer of pva adhesive onto the mount-board, onto which I stuck down my textured surfaces. When dry, I coated the whole board with two more layers of pva and left them to dry, to make sure my print block was waterproof (see below):
Top row, left to right: Flip-flop sole (two different sides), fruit net, crate ties, factory-make smocking.
Middle row, left to right: Crocheted bath mat, corduroy garment section (with seams), woven leather and synthetic belt, garlic net.
Bottom row, left to right: Curtain hooks, grass stem and ivy leaf, cambric fabric, 120 grit carborundum.
My focus was on exploring textures at this stage rather than developing patterns. I used different paper and fabric with Akua intaglio ink which I applied undiluted with a decorators’ paint brush. Before taking fresh prints, I replenished the block by re-inking. In all cases I worked the print by pressing and massaging the paper of fabric across the block using my thumb and fingers.
SAMPLE 1: 130gsm cartridge paper
The paper was sufficiently thin to be able to work around the relief surface of the collage block, and the print was crisp and well defined (see below):
All the surfaces were recognisable from the print. Particularly detailed was the stitching of the crocheted bath mat (centre row, right column). There was a surprising amount of detail from the ivy leaf (bottom row, centre-right column). It was an encouraging first print.
SAMPLE 2: Plain newsprint
The plain newsprint was even more lightweight than the cartridge paper and more absorbent. I was particularly interested to try this paper because I wanted to assess the effect of printing onto newspaper (thereby adding depth and texture to an already patterned surface).
In general the results were very similar to those achieved with the cartridge paper (see below):
The only slight difference is that the prints have more shadow and are therefore slightly less well defined. I prefer this because I find it more atmospheric. The two close-ups below, illustrate the effect achieved. They are 1. Fruit net, 2. Curtain hooks.
I particularly like the way that in the fruit net print, some of the negative spaces have been filled with ink whilst others have not, and the differences in tone across the surface.
SAMPLE 3: Cotton muslin
The nuances of tone are even better pronounced in this print than the paper ones in samples 1 and 2, so there is more suggestion of shadow. The detailed images below show how the threads of the fabric contribute to the beautiful textural quality of the print. There is much more of a feeling of movement of colour across the surface, unifying the different textural areas.
The above image shows the detail of the print from the crocheted bath mat.
And this image is of the fruit net print. It shows both movement and depth.
I can imagine embellishing and extending these prints with sensitive delicate stitching, perhaps in layers. Because they look great magnified, I might also consider photographing and digitally printing them to enhance the detail. Because the muslin is so delicate and translucent, there is also the possibility of layering different solid colours underneath to add additional depth and change the character of the print in different regions.
SAMPLE 4: Japanese tissue
The photograph above shows the print transferred onto the tissue. Most of the surfaces transferred well and gave crisp and identifiable images. It is most similar to the print onto muslin, although it lack the added detail of the fabric weave. A couple of close-ups are given below for comparison:
The crocheted bath mat print (above)
And the woven belt (above).
The character of these prints tends more towards the “powdery” whereas I would describe the prints onto fabric as being more “grainy” in texture. The prints onto Japanese tissue are almost stencil-like.