T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 1

80 mile beach

80 mile beach

For this print I returned to my trip in Western Australia and a series of photographs I took at 80 mile beach. This is one just one – there are some detail shots and others looking up and down the beach. I’d like my print to be looking more directly at the sea – a series of stripes, with the screen of foreground foliage across.

80 mile beach sketch

80 mile beach sketch

I planned two plates, the first to establish the horizontal lines of the background, the second to overprint the foreground. I looked at my library of textures already printed and nothing fit my ideas so I started sampling. I was particularly interested in using textiles for texture – sympathetic to natural forms, but bringing a level of abstraction.

Background plate

Print p4-96

Print p4-96

Print p4-96 (14-Dec-2015) used polymorph molding sample p3-6 (22-Aug-2015) which was textured with a warp-faced woven strap and a round braid. Using polymorph as a plate would avoid the need for sealing and drying time. It should be easy to clean, possibly longer lasting than mountboard based plates, and could be remelted and reused. Possibly areas of the design that didn’t work could be reheated and adjusted.

My first attempt to create a flat sheet of polymorph (using microwave to heat and pressing between tempered glass to flatten) misjudged the amount of material required and after trimming uneven edges was just 10.5 x 11.5 cm, not the A4 size I would eventually need. Still, it proved that I could create a sheet and provided the opportunity for initial attempts.

collatype plate 5 in progressI heated the surface of the polymorph using a hair-dryer, then pressed in a selection of materials using a brayer. From left to right they are: soft cotton knit tube, stretched and flattened; warp faced strap, apparently a natural fibre; a wire-edged ribbon with stripes of different textures; a synthetic satin ribbon, smooth side down.

For ease of identification I have rotated some of the photographs below so the materials are seen in the same order.

Print p4-129
The plate was rolled with akua intaglio ink and printed onto cartridge paper using a baren.

Print p4-129

Print p4-129

A lightly coloured result with little detail.

Print p4-130
The plate was both rolled and dabbed with intaglio ink. The print was onto cartridge paper, working heavily with wooden tools to press the paper into the plate.

Print p4-130

Print p4-130

The result is much darker and the textures of the fancy stripe ribbon and unironed satin ribbon on the right particularly apparent. Inking was uneven and blotches are apparent.

Print p4-131
Phthalo blue akua liquid pigment was rolled onto the gelatin plate. A hole the size of the plate was cut in newsprint which was placed on the gelatin to act as a mask giving a border to the print. The polymorph plate was gently pressed into the gelatin, lifted, and a print taken on cartridge paper pressing by hand.

Print p4-131

Print p4-131

A little detail can be seen around the edges but none in most of the print. The contact between polymorph and gelatin must have been incomplete.

Print p4-132
The inking and masking was as for the previous print. The polymorph was pressed firmly into the gelatin plate and the print taken on cartridge paper by hand.

Print p4-132

Print p4-132

More ink was removed by the polymorph and there is texture but no detail in the print. It is bland.

Print p4-133
Given the amount of ink transferred to the polymorph I attempted to print from it onto cartridge paper with a brayer.

Print p4-133

Print p4-133

The print is very pale but there is some good detail just visible.

Print p4-134
Some colour was still visible on the polymorph plate. I rolled additional phthalo blue liquid pigment onto the polymorph and printed on cartridge paper using a brayer.

Print p4-134

Print p4-134

This is the best of a disappointing sequence. Possibly the creased satin ribbon could be used to suggest a band of texture in sand, but it doesn’t convince me.

I still believe the idea of using the polymorph in this way holds possibilities, but further development work and experimentation would be needed to identify better texturing materials and effective ways to ink and print. I decided to use monoprint techniques to create the first layer of the 80 mile beach print.

Foreground plate
For the foreground plate of sand dune vegetation I decided to attempt texture with yarns glued on mountboard. My first step was to create a sampler board.

collatype plate 6

collatype plate 6

A mix of “fancy” yarns of mixed fibres, mostly synthetic, plus a piece of rafia (#15).

Print p4-135
Ultramarine blue akua intaglio ink was rolled onto the plate. I wiped the plate carefully around the yarns. I wanted to focus on the marks of the yarns, without distraction or interference from the background.

Print p4-135 After inking (left), and wiping (right)

Print p4-135 After inking (left), and wiping (right)


Printing was onto cartridge paper with a 2 inch brayer rolled carefully along each yarn and close up against each side to maximize the printed area.
Print p4-135

Print p4-135


This gave a good variety of marks, some suggestive of vegetation. On others the manufactured nature of the yarn was too apparent, especially yarn 8 with the regular placement of the puffs and the grid effect from a yarn that was braided rather than spun.

Print p4-136
Inking, wiping and paper were as for the previous print. The print was made using the ezicut press.

Print p4-136

Print p4-136


The pressure of the press transferred more ink, losing some detail in the process. The print is crisper, without blurring from paper movement. There is more colour in the background areas.

Print p4-137
Red oxide akua liquid pigment was rolled onto the gelatin plate. The mountboard sampler plate, not cleaned after the previous print, was pressed into the surface and removed. The print was taken from the gelatin on cartridge paper using a baren.

Print p4-137 detail

Print p4-137 detail

Print p4-137

Print p4-137

The result is lovely. The photographs don’t do justice to the delicate drab pink that swirls and fragments in the background, a striking foil to the traces of rich blue, full of detail, that floats above. It’s not suitable for my current purpose, but I would love to explore this effect and try to create it deliberately.

Print p4-138
There seemed to be a lot of ink left on the mountboard plate, so without re-inking I printed onto cartridge paper using the ezicut press.

Print p4-138

Print p4-138

This is effectively the second ghost of print p4-136. With relatively little ink a lot of texture and detail is apparent. There are traces of the red oxide, but they have mixed with the blue to become a dirty grey lavender. I like the level of detail and the complexity of colour in the yarn textures. There is more nuance than in p4-135 and p4-136. However I see this as a high process effort and high risk method, not an attractive option as an overprint as planned for the 80 mile beach image.

Print p4-139
I rolled the gelatin print with yellow diarylide liquid pigment, pressed in the mountboard plate and took the print on cartridge paper.

Print p4-139

Print p4-139

This is now the fourth print of the mountboard plate with no ink added. Some of the finer yarns have lifted the yellow without depositing any blue, but the thicker yarns still hold colour. The yellow is strong, visually shrieking, fighting the blue unpleasantly.

Print p4-140
Was there any colour left on the mountboard? I printed onto cartridge paper using the ezicut press.

Print p4-140

Print p4-140

Print p4-140 detail

Print p4-140 detail

This is the fifth print using the blue ink applied for p4-136. The extra pressure of the press transferred more blue than p4-139. The blue sits next to the yellow in the yarn textures. There are a few faint traces of the red oxide in the background.

The question must be around the amount of ink I originally applied. The early prints suffered from too much, losing detail, high in contrast and low in texture. My colours choices in this example aren’t striking – what could be done with more interesting choices?

Putting these questions to one side, I closely studied (sorted!) the yarn textures, looking for candidates for my foreground print. Yarns 6 and 10 look excellent for foliage, but were too large scale for my planned A4 print. Yarns 7 and 9 could fit. Either 13 or 14 could be used for the strong spikes and curves of dune grasses.

I chose to go forward with yarns 6 and 10, trimming the tendrils with scissors to adjust the scale. Yarn 14 was chosen for spikes. I felt that was sufficient variety and complexity for the proposed print. While gluing up the materials I used some of the trimmed offcuts to fill areas between yarns.

collatype plate 7While working I became concerned about the complexity and deep texture of the plate. From my first collatype plate (13-Dec-2015) I have chosen thick/deep or heavily textured items that interested me, disregarding normal printing guidelines. It has seemed a reasonable risk, given my purpose is not traditional print-making. This has led to challenges in inking and printing, and some indifferent, patchy results. This time the choice was unintentional – it has only been while recording the results and reviewing the multiple prints and relative levels of detail from a single inking that I have become fully aware of the price.

T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach
Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
Project 2: Collatype printing
Exercise 3: Collatype collage prints
Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 1

6 Responses to “T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 1”


  1. 1 Lottie December 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    P4-137 detail leaps out from the rest of the prints with its fluidity and movement for me. I appreciate it doesn’t suit you presently but it seems to hold a lot of potential for exploration nevertheless.


  1. 1 Collatype collage prints – 80 mile beach part 2 | Fibres of Being Trackback on December 27, 2015 at 10:19 pm
  2. 2 T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – low texture experiments | Fibres of Being Trackback on December 30, 2015 at 10:47 pm
  3. 3 T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm
  4. 4 T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Review | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm

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