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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

6 Responses to “T1-MMT-P4-p2-e3 Collatype collage prints – Banded ironstone formation”


  1. 1 MegWeaves January 1, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Happy New Year, you uber student! I’ve been gazing at your pictures rejoining there are hints of fibers in them, but wondering if you knew it is that festive season now, but then I’ve been working some and going downstairs to weave this afternoon so I guess it’s the same thing. I hope you have a wonderful 2016 and more interesting things to show us all.

  2. 2 fibresofbeing January 1, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Thanks Meg
    There were festivities?
    I am working so hard – can’t recall the last time I put in this much sustained effort. A deadline is looming and an exciting new assignment beckoning.
    I hope you have a wonderful year, full of joy and discovery.


  1. 1 T1-MMT-P4 Collatype printing research wrapup | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 1, 2016 at 9:41 am
  2. 2 T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm
  3. 3 T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Review | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm
  4. 4 T1-MMT-P5 Graham Marchant – Exploring Mixed Media workshop | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 24, 2016 at 8:41 pm

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