Sunday, September 15, 2013


I've been chained to my sewing machine so much recently, preparing pieces for an exhibition, Exquisite Touch at Craft NSW Gallery in Sydney that it was great to take a break on Saturday and do something completely different.  The exhibition incidentally opens on Tuesday 17 Sept 6-8pm, but more on that in the next post.

Back to Saturday - I went to a great workshop on making collagraphs, held by Primrose PaperArts in Sydney. This was the first of 2 days: the first day would be spent preparing the plates, the second printing with them.  I have a couple of books on the subject which detail the process involved and give design ideas, but nothing beats being tutored in person by an expert.  We were taught by Chris Hutch, a member of the group and an obviously experienced printer of beautiful collagraphs, who was so generous in her supplies and tuition.
Her own collagraph plates were artworks in themselves, let alone her prints.

This one features various fibres, gesso and glue
Various areas of the mountboard has been cut back to give darker areas once printed, and features surface texture with glue, mediums and carbundum
After seeing all this wonderful inspiration we made a start on creating our own, starting with mountboard like Chris. The following are my attempts of simple boards trying to use the demonstrated techniques.  I went with the more organic designs, looking to my A5 sketchbook from Module 1 dip work for ideas.  I had studied bottle trees quite closely at the time in various forms so I traced one of my drawings onto the board, and cut back a little to create relief.

A5 boards
 The board (above left) then had additional threads, kozo fibre, carbundum and crushed egg shell all set in PVA.  The one on the right has similar fibres and sandpaper strips set in manipulated gesso to build up a surface.
 This A5 board above has scrim and muslin in the background with pressed leaves and moulded leaf impressions.
This last board above was about A4 size and featured the bottle tree again in a little more elaborate cut back form with strips of mesh and embossed handmade paper (from certificate module, yes I keep everything).

That all took most of the day, so Chris so kindly took them home with her to dry properly and then seal them all with shellac for us so that they would be ready to print with next time - can't wait. But i'll have to, until 10 October. I'm more used to monoprinting of course, which is immediate in its results, so the time and thought involved in developing collagraphs is totally different.  My boards didn't really look like much for now, but I'm hopefully they'll turn out ok and it will be fun playing with them in a few weeks - watch this space.


Catherine said...

Sounds like a great course. I'm looking forward to seeing your prints.

JaneO said...

Watching with interest.