Project 12 – Collatype collage prints

Map collage print

The aim with this project is to produce a representation image. I decided to continue my work with maps and produce an aerial view of a section of river and woods near my home. Conscious of my tutor’s advice to not rely on photographs, I went out to sketch this area instead of using an existing map.

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Because this was sketched rather than from an actual map, I have simplified and adjusted shapes/lines to make a pleasing composition rather than trying to achieve an accurate representation of the features on the ground. Using a map format will allow me to simplify the features and reduce the detail to what is possible with collage prints.

I need to use a range of textures, but the colouring is going to be pretty much fixed as close to the actual colours of the landscape features, otherwise it is likely to end up unrecognisable as what it supposed to represent, which would go against the idea of a representation image. In some ways that is going to preclude me going for “bold and adventurous” too much with this print.

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I thought I would try making up a block on card, cutting it to give the two green areas either side of the river, and the river separate. I could then ink up the blocks separately, place them together and print from them.

Map plate 1

Using two types of wallpaper, sandpaper, seeds, tissue paper, scrim and acrylic gel

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Well, the theory may have been OK, but in practice, the blocks were curved (probably due to the varnish on one side?) so they didn’t sit flat together which made it a bit tricky. It mostly printed OK, although the blue of the river didn’t come out very clearly at the top. The main problem was that the wallpaper representing the trees, didn’t look like trees!

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So, a rethink back to a single block and using circles cut out of handmade paper for the trees:

Map plate 2

Using wallpaper, sandpaper, seeds, scrim, acrylic gel and handmade paper

I tried a number of different inking methods:

Single colour:

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I used grey ink and wiped it away in areas such as the river. This print was the one which actually worked best of all I thought.

Using masks:

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In terms of using colour, this was probably the most successful attempt. Printed in brown wiped off, then green with river wiped off, then blue with the ground masked off. Unfortunately there are the characteristic white outlines which I got when using masks earlier in the course.

Selective inking:

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Unfortunately the colour hasn’t come out very dense in this print, but this is the second most successful colour print and probably could have worked.

Multiple colours:

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This is a print in brown followed by a print in green, but it unfortunately just looks like sludge!

Whilst the course notes suggested trying rainbow rolling, I didn’t do this for this print as I didn’t think it would work well with my subject.

Woodland scene print

I also tried a couple of blocks showing a woodland scene:

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Block 1:

Woodland plate 1

Using two different wallpapers, sandpaper, seeds, pine needles, ferns and leaves.

Block 2:

Woodland plate 2

Using two different wallpapers, bark, sandpaper, seeds, pine needles, tissue paper and scrim.

I printed these using selective inking and also multiple prints using masks:

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The block without leaves gave the best print using selective inking. The block with leaves shown here was printed in three colours using masks. The masks worked better in this case than with the map, but the red used for the leaves hasn’t really shown up. Also, the path hasn’t printed which makes for an incomplete print.

Overall

I had limited success with these collage block prints. Mainly I think this was due to the lack of an etching press to give sufficient pressure on the print. At a preview the other day I had a photographic exhibition preview next to Annwyn Dean at Farfield Mill and talking to her about her collagraphs, she thought it was essential to use an etching press. The hydraulic press I was using worked much better than a wooden spoon could manage, but it still wasn’t sufficient for the job. I think the pressure isn’t even across the block either as some of the edges haven’t come out very well.

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After having the test prints buckle a bit, I dried out these prints by taping them to the desk which seemed to work well.

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