Archive for December 31st, 2015

T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – Banded ironstone formation

banded ironstone formation

banded ironstone formation

In an earlier post (30-Dec-2015) I selected Banded Ironstone Formations seen in Karijini National Park as the inspiration for my last collatype block. The experiments recorded in that post gave me confidence in a new method of preparing the plate and provided a library of textures with which to work.

banded ironstone formation sketch

banded ironstone formation sketch

A quick sketch of the design followed. I wanted something graphic, not at all realistic. I was zooming in and exploring large scale stripes (I think the colour mixing stripes of p4-76 is one of my more successful prints – 7-Dec-2015). The focus was a fracture line in the formation, the closer bands thrust up at an angle, more distant stone lying horizontal. I would emphasize the two sections by using different scales of texture. I also wanted to break a line with small inclusions, a small detail of interest seen in one of my photographs.

Print p4-150

Print p4-150

Referring back to the texture prints, I chose coarse hessian and a mid-weight cotton for the foreground textures – the two fabrics at the left of the top row in p4-150. For the background I chose the lighter hessian and tissue silk, the fabrics at each end of the bottom row.

Just as in the earlier sample the plate used mountboard as a base, modelling paste as glue and support for the fabrics, and acrylic matt medium as sealant. The only modification was pressing the completed, dried plate under some heavy books to remove any bowing, suspecting that this was the cause of some issues in the previous prints.

I was already inking the plate in a mix of violet and red akua intaglio inks when I remembered to take a photograph.

collatype plate 9

collatype plate 9

Print p4-156
A single mixed colour of ink was rolled over the surface. The print was taken on cartridge paper using my small ezicut craft press.

Print p4-156

Print p4-156

The layers of wool batting I use as a printing blanket went through the press at a slight angle, leaving one edge light. Otherwise the image is full of texture and detail. The four textiles create four different textures. My small hessian inclusions can be seen in the first cotton stripe in the top left corner of the print.

Although full of incident the image is not interesting. The design is not a simple repetition, but the break and the intended foreground and background are not clear.
break

Print p4-157
In one of my experiments, p4-152, there was sufficient ink left after printing direct from the mountboard to transfer colour to the gelatin plate.

I rolled the gelatin with burnt umber liquid pigment and pressed in the collatype plate without re-inking it. The print was taken on cartridge paper using hand pressure.

Print p4-157

Print p4-157

The print is bland, featureless, uninteresting. The earlier experiment used a plate previously printed using a brayer. It seemed the little press had been much more effective, leaving little for the next print. Too little burnt umber had been rolled on the gelatin, compounding problems.
break

Print p4-158
I rolled the same mix of intaglio ink on the mountboard plate and took a print on copy paper using the baren. So little transferred that I have not included that print in my results.

Instead I moved straight on to the gelatin plate, rolling it with a larger than usual amount of lamp black liquid pigment. The mountboard was pressed in, then the print taken on cartridge paper using hand pressure.

Print p4-158

Print p4-158

There is good transfer of hessian texture in some areas. There is insufficient contrast of the two ink colours, leading to a dull image.

It can’t be seen in my photographs, but another innovation was introduced in this print. In this exercise we are asked to work between A4 and A3 size. My little press is just wide enough for A4. The gelatin plate fits A4 with a small margin around. Balancing requirements and resources, almost all my collatype prints have been an A4 page printed edge to edge, without the uninked area normally used. On the press the only alternative would be to go smaller. On the gelatin plate I didn’t want an unsightly, uneven border of untextured colour and I couldn’t think of a manageable way to mask the edges.

The answer turned out to be simple. In this print I inked the full gelatin plate as normal. While the mountboard plate was still in place I gentle pressed strips of paper into the gelatin following each edge. When the mountboard was removed the strips stayed in place, providing a mask and crisp uninked edges with an A4 image on A3 paper. This first attempt wasn’t centered well, but I have used the technique on all subsequent gelatin prints and my placement has improved. The new borders enhance the print, but seem a waste of pixels on screen so are cropped out of the photographs.
break

Print p4-159
I needed more contrast between ink colours so texture could be seen. I also wanted to differentiate foreground and background stone.

Rather than using a mixed colour of intaglio ink, I dabbed the foreground area of the mountboard with red and the background with violet. Rather than taking an initial print the plate was blotted on scrap paper with hand pressure.

When rolling burnt umber liquid pigment on the gelatin plate I realised I had used too much. I used a page of newspaper very gently pressed on the plate to lift some colour. I quickly re-rolled to remove traces of the newspaper, pressed in the mountboard plate, then took the print on (A3) cartridge paper.

Print p4-159

Print p4-159

Print p4-159 detail

Print p4-159 detail

The different colours can be seen clearly. The hessian texture shows quite well and there is beginning to be some impact from the other fabrics.

However in most areas the hessian strips seem to float above a single, plain background. It’s rather dull.
break

Print p4-160
In the previous print the use of newspaper had left traces of the original classified advertisements on the plate. I rolled these out before thinking. Could I get the effect deliberately?

I used the same inking and blotting method on the mountboard as in the previous print. I put more liquid pigment than needed on the gelatin, blotted lightly with newspaper, and without re-rolling completed the print onto cartridge paper.

Print p4-160

Print p4-160

Print p4-160 detail

Print p4-160 detail

In the detailed photograph you may just be able to see that real estate including a balcony with view was being advertised. Because the newspaper was pressed into the gelatin then the print taken from that, the lettering shows normally, not reversed. This could be very useful at some future time. Unfortunately in this image the burnt umber areas remain boring.

A lot of colour is now coming from the hessian. Ink appeared to have built up on the plate.
break

Print p4-161
Given the amount of ink still visible on the mountboard plate I did not re-ink it.

Although the newspaper texture in the previous print wasn’t sufficient, perhaps I could use something else to create texture. I rolled a lot of lamp black liquid pigment onto the gelatin plate, then pressed in a piece of heat treated thin plastic (previously seen wrapping a jug in sample p2-66 (22-Jul-2015)). The rest of the process was as in previous prints.

Print p4-161

Print p4-161

Print p4-161 detail

Print p4-161 detail

There wasn’t enough ink on the mountboard plate, or at least it was all in deeper spots and not transferred to the gelatin. The lamp black was too dark, even after blotting/texturing with the plastic.

However I do have the texture I wanted! The image is lost, but I think this could be a very useful effect.
break

Print p4-162
I redabbed the mountboard with red and violet, then blotted it on scrap paper.

The gelatin plate was rolled with burnt umber. I used the same piece of plastic, unwiped so still with traces of lamp black on it, to create texture.

I cut a piece of newsprint (blank) in the shape of the background rock area and used it to lift some of the colour from the gelatin plate. The mountboard plate was pressed in and the print taken from the gelatin as before.

Print p4-162

Print p4-162

Foreground and background are differentiated. The stone is textured and the mix of lamp black with the burnt umber is very effective.

It’s not a great design but it’s finally making sense. The change of slope of the lines is clarified. In the foreground stone in particular the bands of colour sit together as a single stone. The background hessian still floats a little, particularly in the central bands. The coarser hessian has too much ink and detail is lost. However overall I am pleased with this result.
break

Print p4-163
I tried to scrub excess ink out of the hessian using paper towels. This was not effective. Then I thought to make a print using the ezicut press, which forces the paper deeper into the texture of the plate. Copy paper was used for the print.

Print p4-163

Print p4-163

This happenstance cleaning print is the closest to my original ideas. All fabric textures contribute. Foreground and background are clearly differentiated, although the depth effect is not strong. The bands of each stone area sit together in a single mass.

There’s a thinner band of cotton in the middle of the foreground red area. I think more variation in stripe width would improve the design.
break

Print p4-164
I decided to make one more print, using everything learnt so far. The cleaned mountboard was redabbed with red and violet. This time red oxide liquid pigment was used on the gelatin plate. The heat distorted plastic, still with traces of lamp black and burnt umber, was pressed on lightly with a baren to create texture on the gelatin. The newsprint shape was used to lift colour in the background. The mountboard was pressed in, then the print taken on A3 cartridge paper.

Print p4-164

Print p4-164

Print p4-164 detail

Print p4-164 detail

The background texture is complex.

The image doesn’t quite work, although I find it hard to define why. The slope of the break between foreground and background is wrong. I think the shape created lifting colour with newsprint has not been registered with the shapes on the mountboard plate, so that very important break edge is muddled.
break

Print p4-165
Given the previous success of p4-163, I decided to finish the session and clean the plate by printing on the ezicut press with no additional ink. Cartridge paper was used.

Print p4-165

Print p4-165

The result in the red area is very dark and much of the detail of the cotton fabric has been lost. The result is striking, but I find it clumsy and messy.
break

Print p4-166
Given the amount of colour on the previous print I took another using the ezicut press, this time on copy paper.

Print p4-166

Print p4-166

Print p4-166 detail

Print p4-166 detail

The result is lighter and a lot of detail can be seen – including the little insertions of hessian into one of the cotton bands. I think this is one of the better prints of the series.

This was the final print session for this Part of the course and I found it very satisfying. I brought forward ideas from previous experiments in both collatypes and monotypes. I was able to improvise and adjust methods and materials in response to my results. There are definitely ideas and techniques I want to take forward.

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

T1-MMT-P4 Printing workshop with Claire Brach

Earlier this week I spent a day with friend and fellow OCA student Claire (tactualtextiles.wordpress.com/). We started together on the textiles pathway, and Claire has since transferred to creative arts so she can combine textiles with her new-found passion for printmaking. Claire is currently working on the final project for Printmaking 1 and has participated in workshops and master classes here in Sydney. I asked to visit to see her in action – all those finer details of working, her setup and tool choice. She responded by giving me a full, personalised, one day workshop in her studio.

It came with homework. At our last get-together, visiting the S.H. Ervin gallery for the Destination Sydney exhibition of works by Cressida Campbell, Grace Cossington Smith and Margaret Preston, Claire gave me pieces of lino and pvc foam sheet, each 12 x 18.5 cm.

design for foamex

design for foamex

The foamex was for the first print layers, to be printed in multiple colours. The design instructions:

  • Draw 4 lines edge to edge. They mustn’t cross
  • Draw 3 lines, which must cross others
  • Elaborate with echoing lines, patterning and/or textures as desired
  • design for lino

    design for lino

    The lino would be the top print layer, in a single colour. Instructions:

  • Draw 5 or more circles or parts of circles. They can overlap, be fully enclosed, stay separate…
  • Elaborate with echoing curves.
  • Decide which areas would be cut away and which would print.
  • In doing this, consider the overlap with layer 1. Don’t obscure areas of particular interest.
  • I arrived for the day with designs drawn, paper pre-cut and plate surfaces scrubbed. While I was put to work transferring the designs and cutting the plate, Claire made a “simple jig” (her words) precision measured to my plates and paper, to aid registration.

    work station

    work station

    I was focused and kept forgetting to take photos. This one shows Claire demonstrating the rolling and application of thin layers of ink. Note:

  • Thoughtfully designated work areas. I think the inking area stays constant – tools and inks in place, glass plates (non-skid mat beneath) with regions for rolling main and other inks and for the plate being inked. Drawers below hold less frequently used tools. Turn to the right and there is the printing area – a space to store the blankets etc, right next to a place to build the sandwich of plate, paper, blankets…, right next to her large book press. Additional benches around the room are set up as required. One table was the cutting area. Another was paper preparation.
  • Carefully chosen and maintained equipment. Quality tools are added as need arises and budget allows. In the top right corner above you can just see the wooden stand purpose made for Claire’s main rollers. On the cutting workstation was a home built bench hook and a new wooden holder for her lovely and very sharp cutting tools (see her post 30-Dec-2015)
  • Cleanliness. For example the plate to be inked is on a sheet of newspaper. The glass top remains clean and the plate is easy to rotate for rolling from all directions. A revelation! I knew Claire doesn’t wear gloves while working which amazed me as she is so fastidious. The way she works they just aren’t necessary – a slightly oily rag (kept in its own special container) and her work shirt deal with any small smudges.
  • Safety and ergonomics. Chairs are a good height, blades are kept sharp, turn the plate and cut away from yourself…
  • When printing my sampler plate 8 yesterday (30-Dec-2015) I tidied up and made just a little more space for myself, and had the plate on a piece of newspaper for rolling. Such a small thing, such a big difference. Easier, better work and easier cleanup.

    Claire’s printing shows the same care and precision. We did two test prints of the lino on newsprint.

    test prints 1 (left) and 2

    test prints 1 (left) and 2

    They look very similar in the photo, but it allowed us to build up an even base of ink and to fine-tune some of the carving.

    colour management

    colour management

    For the bottom layers I chose colours for particular areas. We decided to use primary colours, to see what mixes would be produce. We rolled, checked coverage, then colour was removed using paper towels and cotton buds. I had great difficulty – finger prints and stray edges of towel kept marring my almost ready plates.

    The photograph shows the initial inking for layer 1 of print 1. The lino block was already inked and put safely to one side.

    print 1 layer 1

    print 1 layer 1

    Print 1 layer 1 printed.

    Claire is holding the paper up and still in place in the registration jig. My job was to clean the foamex plate and then apply yellow ink over the full plate.

    The paper is mingeshi – quite light and a buff colour. I notice we printed on the smooth side. I should be more conscious of this in my own printing.

    print 1 layer 2

    print 1 layer 2

    Printing from foamex plate complete.

    Clearly my plate cleaning wasn’t entirely effective. The initial pink/red has all been covered to produce an orange.

    print 1 layer 3 before and after

    print 1 layer 3 before and after


    Claire’s press screws down onto the plate (can’t believe I didn’t take a photo). You can see above how complete the ink transfer was.

    print 1

    print 1

    The completed print. The colours are subdued due to the colour and weight of the paper. I’d also chosen a yellow paint with less pigment than Claire’s other printing inks. For later prints we mixed this with a brighter, more heavily pigmented yellow. All the red has mixed to orange and there is very little clear blue as the first layers almost completely covered the image.

    The areas where I’d scratched into the foamex work well. I like the interference patterns where the lino carving was a bit shallow, but there is a bit too much of it. We carved away some of the higher areas and cleaned those parts of the plate after inking in later prints.

    There’s a lot happening in the design but I think it holds together well and creates a lively, engaging image.

    For print 2 the basic sequence of printing was the same. The red regions are slightly different. The yellow was adjusted. We also cleaned part of the yellow plate so some red remained uncovered.

    print 2 layer 2

    print 2 layer 2

    print 2

    print 2

    print 2 detail

    print 2 detail

    The print is on white cartridge paper. Together with the stronger yellow and some clear red this makes a much brighter print.

    The detail photo shows the different colours achieved in our layering of the primaries. I particularly like the yellow on orange herringbone. I didn’t do a lot of extra scratching in the plate, but it really brings in some extra energy.

    For our final print we changed things around a little. Blue and yellow were used on the foamex plate and red reserved for the top lino layer. We also did some fading and manipulation of colours on the foamex, not keeping strictly to the individual boundaries. We used cartridge paper.

    plate inked for print 3 layer 1

    plate inked for print 3 layer 1


    print 3 layer 2

    print 3 layer 2

    I really like the print at this point and almost wanted to stop there. Strong colours and you can appreciate the strength of the lines and the little fussy details.

    Still, there was more to see and learn.

    print 3

    print 3

    New areas of the combined designs have been revealed in this print.

    I think overall it is less balanced and well-integrated than print 2. It’s certainly darker with more of the brown of the three colours mixing. I really like the area centre top, with a line of herringbone, the lozenge marks above and the red sweeping in.

    Altogether a wonderful day full of fun and learning. As well as working hard on the printing we talked about our studies with a wider perspective. You can read Claire’s account of the day here.

    Distance learning is difficult and I’m enormously lucky to be sharing the journey with Claire. I just wish we lived on the same side of the city. The drive can be 1.5 hours or more each way depending on traffic, and that’s a big chunk out of talking time.

    T1-MMT-P4 Printing with Claire Brach
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
    Printing with Claire Brach


    Calendar of Posts

    December 2015
    M T W T F S S
    « Nov   Jan »
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  

    Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Archives

    Categories