T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage block extension

Polymorph and composimold molding samples

Polymorph and composimold molding samples

I wondered if some of the materials I used for molding in Assignment 3 could be used as alternative collage print blocks – specifically composimold and polymorph.

Print p4-94
I rolled akua intaglio ink onto four of the original samples and placed them in a group on the work table. I printed them onto cartridge paper using a baren.

Print p4-94

Print p4-94


Top row: Sample p3-6, polymorph (23-Aug-2015); Sample p3-9, composimold (26-Aug-2015).
Bottom row: Sample p3-5, polymorph (23-Aug-2015); Sample p3-13, polymorph joined to composimold (1-Sep-2015).

Both materials picked up colour during rolling and released colour when printing. There was some movement of the separate samples while printing which could have caused blurring, especially of the polymorph samples which have uneven bases and tended to skitter across the table surface.

The composimold in particular printed strongly and with good detail.
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Print series p4-95
Each of the samples was rolled with colour again, then printed onto dry stonehenge paper. I printed each sample separately, to avoid the movement issues.

Print p4-95a

Print p4-95a

The first print of sample p3-9 is shown upper right. Transfer using a baren was uneven. I used both hand and baren in the second print on the sheet.

The resulting pattern is strong but not detailed. The mold had been bent during storage, causing a flaw in both prints. The darker, more complete print has striking patterning which could be used as the starting point or a layer in an abstract design.

Print p4-95b

Print p4-95b

The mix of materials in sample p3-13 has produced a range of textures and tonal value. The print is neither sharp nor detailed, but it is visually interesting.

Print p4-95c

Print p4-95c

The composimold circuit board of sample p3-5 has printed more clearly than in the previous group print but is still indistinct. The texture reminds me of an old, decaying plaster wall. I think if muted in colour it could be a useful background texture.

Print p4-95d

Print p4-95d

Sample p3-6 has some deep indentations, in particular the impression of round plastic braid. I found this print unsatisfying, with much of the texture of the original sample lost.
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Print p4-96
Dissatisfied with the previous print p4-95d, I decided to print the sample again on damp stonehenge paper. Intaglio ink was pushed into the sample then wiped off and I used wooden clay shaping tools to encourage the paper into the shape of the mold.

Print p4-96

Print p4-96

The paper was very damp, which I think led to the blurring of colour. One or more of my inking, wiping and printing methods were ineffective, with little detail captured from the heavily indented area. I think more could be done with this.
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Print p4-97
Next I combined the composimold and polymorph samples with the gelatin plate.

The plate was rolled with phthalo blue akua liquid pigment. Each of the molding samples was pressed into the plate then removed. The print was taken on cartridge paper using a baren.

Print p4-97

Print p4-97


The crisp, intricate detail is amazing.
Print p4-97 detail 1

Print p4-97 detail 1

Print p4-97 detail 2

Print p4-97 detail 2

The plate itself is slowly degrading. Little lumps of undissolved gelatin powder mark the surface with more slowly appearing. Ignoring that, the quality of the print is very good.

The composimold picked up more of the ink than the polymorph, giving a range of values. This difference could be exploited in a design.
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Print p4-98
I took a ghost print on copy paper using a baren.

Print p4-98 detail

Print p4-98 detail

Detail remains good and I remain excited about the possibilities of this combination of materials and techniques.
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Print p4-99
There was a lot of ink transferred from the gelatin plate to the samples.

I printed sample p3-13 onto very damp stonehenge paper using hand and brayer.

Print p4-99

Print p4-99


The result is indistinct and watery, like a puddle on a rainy afternoon. I rate it a failure.
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Print p4-100
Next I printed all four samples one by one on a strip of dry stonehenge paper, without adding more ink. On sample p3-6 in particular I worked with the wooden tools to capture as much detail as possible.

Print p4-100

Print p4-100


Sample p3-13 is very faint, to be expected given no more ink was added after print p4-99.

The print of sample p3-6 shows the most detail of any of my attempts. I can clearly see the original webbing, the original round braid. I can see all of these as background texturing or context-giving material.
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Print p4-101
Using the gelatin plate gave entirely different results to printing the samples directly onto paper. Wanting to explore this further I re-rolled liquid pigment on the plate, then pressed collatype plate 1 into the gelatin, working across all sections of the plate to ensure contact.

Print p4-101

Print p4-101

Print p4-101 detail

Print p4-101 detail

The results are highly detailed. The plaster chips, round braid and balsa wood are all much clearer than in any earlier prints. I wouldn’t necessarily want this level of detail for all prints, but it’s a great option.

Some of the rough materials on the collatype plate broke the surface of the gelatin plate. I haven’t yet tried but I believe it is possible to melt and re-make gelatin plates.

In the final exercise of the assignment we are asked to make more collatype prints. I definitely want to include these materials and techniques in the mix.
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My final extension work returned to the earlier monotype projects. I would like to find a stencil material that allows me to build a library of personal patterns and motifs, created in more durable stencils. I also wanted to try again the stencil colouring and registration techniques I attempted in print p4-77 (7-Dec-2015).

In previous exercises I have used copy paper, freezer paper and bristol board to make stencils. To these I added wet media acetate (a very thin acetate sheet which is treated by the manufacturer to allow liquid media to be applied without beading and cleans up in water) and yupo stencil paper (plastic coated paper).

Print p4-102
Phthalo blue akua liquid pigment was rolled onto the gelatin plate. Fish shapes cut with a scalpel from each of the five materials were rolled with orange liquid pigment and placed ink side down on the plate. Cartridge paper was placed on the plate and stencils and printed with a baren. Keeping the cartridge paper basically in place, corners were lifted and the stencils removed. The baren was used again to make the final print.

Print p4-102

Print p4-102

Stencil placement:
Top row: freezer paper; bristol board.
Bottom row: wet media acetate; yupo stencil paper; copy paper.

Some of the stencils shifted as I was rolling on the orange, leaving traces of colour on the non-inked sides. I think this is the source of the only clear orange seen on the print.

Both the copy paper and the bristol board absorbed virtually all the orange during the initial press, leaving none deposited on the print.

The other three all produced a mixing of orange and blue with different textures depending on the stencil material. The wet media acetate left the most orange in the mix. The granularity of the colour mix is much finer from the yupo stencil.
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Print p4-103
It seems to me that this technique must always leave a mix of colour. When the stencil is removed there will be some of the original colour rolled on the plate and some of the colour rolled on the stencil.

I cleaned and re-inked the gelatin plate. I then placed and removed an uninked fish stencil in four places. The idea was to lift off some of the blue. I then placed on four stencils of different materials, each inked in orange. The printing process was the same as the previous print.

Print p4-103

Print p4-103

Stencil placement:
Top row: yupo stencil paper; freezer paper.
Bottom row: wet media acetate; bristol board.

The same “blotting” stencil was used four times, and was less effective in removing ink in the later uses. The four stencils printed had all been used in the previous print. They had all been wiped clean, but both the freezer paper and the bristol board remained damp.

It was difficult to avoid accidental marking of the ink when removing the blotting stencil. Placement of the inked stencils was close but not fully registered.

The colour on all fish is much less textured – much of what is visible is caused by flaws developing in the plate. Once again the wet media acetate produced the strongest orange, but it is not a pure colour. While not what I was looking for, the colouring on all the fish is attractive.
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Print p4-104
This is the ghost of the previous print, made on copy paper.

Print p4-104

Print p4-104

The colour overall is more consistent in value. The colour effects are pretty but not striking or dramatic.

The is a wide halo effect around the bristol board fish, which I think relates to the relatively thick and absorbent material.

By the end the freezer paper stencil was tightly curled and unusable. Both the yupo and the wet media acetate remained in good shape. The acetate washed clean, the yupo was slightly stained. Time is needed for a real test of longevity. In the meantime I plan to use yupo and acetate in future stencils.

I remain unsatisfied with the technique I was trying. In a future experiment I will place the stencils ink side up.

A number of new materials with lots of potential have been identified in these experiments. I hope to take as many as possible further in coming projects.

T1-MMT-P4-p2-e1 Collage block extension
Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
Project 2: Collatype printing
Exercise 1: Create a collage block
Collage block extension

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