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.
A single mixed colour of ink was rolled over the surface. The print was taken on cartridge paper using my small ezicut craft press.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
However in most areas the hessian strips seem to float above a single, plain background. It’s rather dull.
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.
A lot of colour is now coming from the hessian. Ink appeared to have built up on the plate.
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.
However I do have the texture I wanted! The image is lost, but I think this could be a very useful effect.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Given the amount of colour on the previous print I took another using the ezicut press, this time on copy paper.
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