I have fallen in love with collagraph printmaking. This unique process produces both a print and a relief. A hard base, like pressboard, is used to glue down objects such as cardboard, string and fabrics to create a design and a texture. I like to use mainly torn matte board and construction paper. A polymer acrylic medium is used to glue and seal the textured objects to the base board. Once the collagraphic plate has dried, it is ready to make a print.
Etching ink is used to ink the plate. My method is to apply black ink with a cotton rag and a stiff brush. Mineral spirits is used to dilute the very concentrated ink and help spread it across the plate. Inking the plate is very important. How thick the ink is applied and where it is rubbed away or left in the cracks effects the final print.
While the plate is being inked, heavy printing paper is cut to the correct size and soaked in a water bath. To make the print, the inked plate is set on the press and the blotted printing paper is dropped accurately on top. The plate and paper are sent through the press at a moderately tight setting. The correct press setting both transfers the ink and creates a distinct relief. The print is lifted off the plate and set aside to dry.
I choose to add color to the print by use of water colors and colored pencils. The plate is permanent and can make multiply prints.