Collagraphs

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized
Nine small collagraphs to experiment with texture by Liz Arnold, September 2015

Nine small collagraphs to experiment with texture by Liz Arnold, September 2015

The Collagraphs

Amongst other things, I made 9 small collagraphs (printing plates) (4.5 x 3 inches) over a period of a few weeks (quite a bit of drying time for various layers). They were experiments to create texture and to see how much depth variation gives a good print when using the press. The answer is “not much”. The plate at top right has circles punched from an old dilapidated paperback and crocheted cotton thread. The circles printed well but the crocheted cotton thread was probably a smidgen too thick as it trapped a lot of ink. I used (hogged?) the press at PAWA during the last Saturday Skill Sharing Session and the other members were really helpful in showing me how to set the press up, and how I should leave it when I’ve finished printing.

The Prints from the Collagraphs

Nine small collagraph prints (4.5 x 3 inches) by Liz Arnold. The lower middle print with the splodge was the first print - too much pressure on the press. September 2015.

Nine small collagraph prints (4.5 x 3 inches) by Liz Arnold. The lower middle print with the splodge was the first print – too much pressure on the press. September 2015.

The second photo shows the prints from those 9 plates. The very first print I did was the one with a big splodge! 🙁 I had too much pressure on the press – and possibly too much ink on the plate as well. The pressure was reduced for the remainder of the prints and I like how those came out.

Top row: 1/ cotton yarn, thin card and sand, 2/ watercolour paper strips, 3/ book page circles, the top of a bread mix bag, thin card strips. Second row: 1/ thin card and carborundum, 2/ eggshell (I put all sharp edges pointing down ie outside surface of egg up, and after I glued this the first time I rolled over it with a rolling pin and then applied another 2 layers of glue so there were no sharp bits sticking up), 3/ scrunched tissue paper. Third row: 1/ the top of a bread mix bag and thin card strips, 2/ crochet cotton, paperback page punches, 210gsm card rings, and thinner card strips, 3/ watercolour paper strips.

When I did these prints the plates had all had 8 coats of spray varnish. When I cleaned them they went a bit soft so I put them in the sun to dry for a couple of days to make sure I wasn’t trapping moisture inside and have since given them another 8 coats. Spray varnish doesn’t obscure detail but I don’t like the smell/effects on me even though I’ve been using a mask and spraying outside (staying downwind). I’m going to try brush on varnish which I was avoiding as I thought brush marks might give an unwanted texture. It’s probably just a question of getting the “knack”.

Learning to use Edinburgh Etch with Shana James

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

About the etching class

For 3 Sundays in a row Shana James gave a beginners etching class hosted by PAWA (Printmakers Association of WA). We etched the copper plates with Edinburgh Etch solution.

This was my first copper plate etching - made by using hard ground and the Edinburgh Etch solution.

This was my first etched copper plate – made by using hard ground and the Edinburgh Etch solution.

As I am very much a novice print maker I learned a great deal at this class. I had been keen to learn this print method for 2 reasons. The first is that my drawings are very detailed, with very fine lines, and I wanted to reproduce that fine detail. I knew that etching would achieve that. The second is that I had read that Edinburgh Etch was a less toxic method that could be done at home.

My previous foray into etching used more hazardous chemicals and required a fume cupboard – I only did it once and decided that was not for me.

Preparing the etching plates

For the first lesson we prepared the plates – bevelled the edges, polished the surface, poured on the hard ground, waited for that to dry, and protected the back and edges. Then we drew into the hard ground, and placed the plate in the Edinburgh Etch solution for 45 minutes. Then the tape and hard ground were removed to reveal the bitten image.

This was my first print from my first etching plate prepared using Edinburgh Etch.

This was my first print from my first etching plate prepared using Edinburgh Etch.

Printing from the etched plates

The printing took place during the second lesson and I was very pleased with the result. Some of the other people in the class had a go at adding aquatint but I decided to keep it simple this time around. During this lesson we also prepared another plate so that we could draw into it at home ready for printing during lesson 3.

These lessons were aimed at beginners so we only used one colour. Shana talked about using more than one colour and registration, but what we did was quite enough for me to take in at this early stage. I also asked a lot of questions about the type of paper that is suitable for printing etchings. I need to do some homework on this to find out which papers I like best.

I know now that this method suits my style of work and will be practical for my home studio situation. I will be able to do the actual printing at the PAWA premises where they have a press for the use of members.

This is the first print from my second etching plate.

This is the first print from my second etching plate.

This is my second etched plate from the etching class with Shana James where we used Edinburgh Etch solution. July 2015.

This is my second etched plate from the etching class with Shana James where we used Edinburgh Etch solution. July 2015.

I left feeling inspired and with an extra plate to have another go at home. I’ve bought most of the things required – just a couple of bits and pieces left to find. I’ve read 5 library books about printing since the class and am part way through another!