My first collograph

How often have I talked about collographs and how I want to try them; at last I’ve actually done it. I had started the plate, which is quite a large floppy thing, some time ago at one of the meetings of Eclectica, a textile group I’m in. On Thursday I used it to print some fabric and paper. I realised afterwards that I had intended to add more to it, but it seemed to be interesting enough, so I just got going. Some pieces were brushed with acrylic paint first, then all the prints were made with acrylic paint; I also utilised a couple of lino cut blocks I made ages ago. I’d like to make more of those too, should I ever manage to live  parallel lives.

Here’s the plate, it’s made from thick felt, netting, threads, bits of masking tape and a great deal of optimism, all stuck [badly, as it turned out] onto a piece of plastic windscreen cover. It’s about 50cm x 35cm.

This is a print on Khadi paper. The shapes are not meant to be people, they are stylised exotic fruit.

Another print on Khadi paper. I will add some textile shapes and simple stitch to this, and the piece above, but I like the abstract quality, so very little needs to be added.

Prints on black cotton.

An underlying lino cut print on calico supports a ghostly white collograph print. The shapes do look like creatures that could be employed in a few episodes of  Dr.Who.

I’m using two other pieces for two new bird pieces, so they’re already useful.

I did quite a lot more than these, you know what it’s like when the paint is out, and you just keep going. I also took a lot of close up images in a square format, which my new camera does; they look really interesting, and are asking to be printed on fabric and paper, to be used altogether as one piece or as various backgrounds and indeed foregrounds. I don’t need another project at the moment, but it’s been noted in my ideas pad. I do find digital photography and printing opens up many creative channels, just as itself, let alone with photoshop, which I don’t use very often; it’s been good for a few colour changes on images I want to use in projects though.

4 thoughts on “My first collograph

  1. Steph, I don’t think this is eccentric at all. It works for me! What I like the most is the fact that you’ve played around with it, tried it in different formats and on different materials BUT put it aside for another day to remain focussed on the work in hand. If you could bottle that single-mindedness you’d make a fortune. Is that the way you are or the way you’ve trained yourself to be?

  2. Hi Lesley, I must admit I love playing around with print blocks, be they made from funky foam, wood, scrap materials or lino. They are fun and flexible. I’m sure I’ll use this collograph plate as long as it will let me; fortunately the acrylic toughens blocks up wonderfully, even those made from dodgy materials!
    I’m not sure about the single mindedness; I think I am that way, now you mention it, although it’s a battle isn’t it, when faced with all the other stuff that needs doing. I think it’s genes and habit combined, and being an only child, probably [but how much that counts when you’re 55 I don’t know!]

  3. Such an individual style Steph, I love it. The block has worked really well. Try using printing inks instead of acrylic & you will get clear defined marks. Using a barren you can just pick the areas that you want and make really large blocks to print with.
    You are so inspiring to me

  4. Hi Shelagh,
    I love printing inks, but I don’t think this poor old plate would survive them! I may give them a go, but it’s lacking in the crisp edge department to start with. The acrylics have toughened it up and made it stronger though, so it’s probably worth a go.
    Making a really big block is a brilliant idea. I hadn’t thought of that; you could use the whole thing, or, as you say, just portions of it. I have a nice big piece of MDF just waiting for a role…

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