T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – block 2

The previous two printing blocks I used were made from plaster textured with different materials. In assignment 3 I made casts in plaster, textured by the material of the molds. Could I print from a plaster cast?

Sample p3-48 detail

Sample p3-48 detail
Click image for larger view

I selected sample p3-48 for the experiment. It was cast in a woven cloth suspended in a plastic grid toy (see 26-Sept-2015). At that time I noted the delicate surface texture and the soft undulations of the form – qualities that I would now like to capture in print.

The plan had the pleasing notion of including elements from all Parts of the course:

  • Crumple rice paper to help form it to the shape of the plaster. I chose to print on rice paper as it is soft and malleable, which seemed important for this experiment. Increasing those properties with crumpling came from assignment 1.
  • Join layers of rice paper in a papier mâché to give strength and hold form of the print. This harks back to a “sketch” in part 1 (16-May-2015), from which I learnt to re-think the glue used. It was mentioned in passing in part 2 as a technique used by Eva Hesse in a joining sample (7-Jun-2015). A stronger link to part 2 is the use of a join – in this case for structural rather than conceptual or decorative purpose. There was also mention of papier mâché in part 3, when I chose to focus on other materials and not pursue the technique (12-Oct-2015).
  • The very direct link to part 3 is the choice of a sample as printing block.
  • Of course there is printing, fitting into the current part 4. There’s also the move to three dimensions – a nod back to 3D printing software (11-May-2015) and the 3D pen (for example 16-Apr-2015), plus addressing my struggles earlier in the assignment moving back to two dimensions.
  • Print p4-127
    After brushing the plaster cast to remove any dust or loose fragments I used a dabber to cover the top surface with akua intaglio violet. A little liquid pigment quinacridone red was mixed in to highlight valleys that would become hills in the finished work.

    I repeatedly crumpled a large piece of rice paper and started working it into the plaster shape from the centre. The paper wouldn’t stay in place.

    Print p4-127 - layers

    Print p4-127 – layers
    Click image for larger view

    After a few trials I found a method that seemed to work. A torn piece of rice paper, around 4 or 5 cm diameter, was brushed with glue on one side and placed lightly glue side up on the plaster. When a couple of pieces of layer 1 were in place I started layer 2, unglued rice paper, overlapping edges and using it to push layer 1 into the form of the plaster. When the whole surface was covered I added a third layer, rice paper with the underside glued. I used only moderate pressure – I was concerned about the paper sticking to the plaster mold, and about shifting and blurring the print.

    I used Yamato rice paste – beautiful smooth consistency, brushed easily onto the thin rice paper without soaking through, easy squeezable tube. A new favourite.

    The print was left to dry overnight.

    Print p4-127

    Print p4-127

    Print p4-127 detail

    Print p4-127 detail

    The print released easily from the plaster. It sits as a bowl 23 cm across at its widest and 6.5 cm high at its highest. It is light but holds firmly.

    The actual printing is disappointing, very pale with dark blotches. I experimented with backlighting but all the dimensionality is lost.

    Print p4-128
    I tried again with a few modifications.

    This time only intaglio ink was used – violet and crimson red, quite heavily dabbed on. This product is thicker and stickier than the akua liquid pigment.

    I worked with narrow strips of paper. These settled more easily into the form and I could push layer 1 into the sticky ink. When adding layer 2 (strips set at right angles to layer 1) I used a small metal spoon to burnish the paper into the plaster form.

    Layer 3 was set at a different angle again. The work was set to dry overnight, then burnished thoroughly with a variety of wooden shaper tools.

    Print p4-128

    Print p4-128

    Print p4-128 detail 1

    Print p4-128 detail 1

    Print p4-128 view 2

    Print p4-128 view 2
    Click image for larger view

    Print p4-128 detail 2

    Print p4-128 detail 2
    Click image for larger view

    The print lifted off the plaster with little difficulty. The bowl is similar in dimension to the previous print. The structure feels slightly firmer.

    The colour is still blotchy – clearly I unconsciously spent a lot of time working in the central valley/hill. However there is clear printing across the surface. I particularly like the well defined boundary between print and surround at the upper edge.

    The texture of the fabric used in making the original plaster sample is clearly apparent. Looking in detail there is a wide variety in the colour mixing and in the way colours and texture combine.

    The idea is more exciting than the actual piece in isolation. However I can imagine a collection of cast plaster and the recast, printed vessels. The idea reminds me of Victoria Brown’s work where the original bottle, the cocoon of wool that was felted around it and the pewter that was cast in the wool are all combined in works (see research post 14-Aug-2015).

    I would like to make marks in the surface of the plaster, making smooth areas or vigorous scratching, then print again. I have a deadline looming, so that will have to wait for another opportunity.

    It was quite a slow, laborious process, effectively creating the surface to be printed as I was creating the print. I wondered if it made sense – painting or stamping the papier mâché after it is made would be faster and easier. However look at the second detail photograph, where the way the original fabric creased around the plaster shows in the curving line of the weave in the crease towards upper right. I don’t think you could get that detail and that history of the object using a different method.

    T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – block 2
    Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
    Project 2: Collatype printing
    Exercise 3: Collatype collage prints
    Collatype collage prints – block 2

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