Thursday, July 01, 2010

Printmaking: Collagraph: "And the fish flew with the birds"

Collagraphs, as the name suggests, are prints, (normally a short run) made by assembling shallow pieces of anything from paper to wire mesh, in order to build up layers to print from. Once assembled, the 'plate' is wiped with ink, drypoint-style and excess ink is wiped away with scrim and newsprint until a contrasty image is reached. The paper (in this case a heavyweight Somerset) is soaked for 5 mins, blotted and laid over the artwork then pressed (roller in this case). The main substrate here is a coated/laminated card which itself can be inscribed with needles, etc, or torn to achieve a dark tone as the underlying pulpiness is more absorbent than the coating. The frame is such an example. The untorn surface, because it is more easily wipeable, becomes lighter as ink is rubbed away, as in the sky and sea here. The fish bodies and palm are made from parcel tape cut-outs. The clouds and water patterns are inscribed with a needle. This was made up as I went along and, grasping for a poetic title for this piece, I found a happy tie-in between the fish and the birds both flying. One of only two prints made. Oil-based ink on Somerset 300gsm heavyweight paper.

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