Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Artistic Explorations: Intaglio Printmaking (2)

Collagraphy is a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid surface like wood or mount or cardboard. Different tonal effects and vibrant colours can be achieved with the technique due to the depth of relief and differential inking that results from the collagraph plate's highly textured surface (source: Wikipedia). It might not come as a surprise that this is really up to my street!

After I glued my collage onto the mountboard with PVA, I sealed it all with two thin layers of shellac knotting. This is a solution for sealing knots and resinous areas of bare timber prior to the application of paints, waxes or polishes. Once dry I created intaglio based prints from my plates, where I applied ink to the entire surface and then removed it from the upper surfaces of the collage materials with scrim. Then it was run through a printing press. It's the same inking process as for my etchings which I wrote about in my previous article.

Below is a plate, about 10 x 20 cm large, that I made with various scraps of (wall)paper, fabric, lace, tule, scrim, acrylic medium with black lava and dried grass from the garden.

Collagraph plate " Earth Layers" ©Fenfolio2014

It was then printed on Somerset printmaking paper with oil-based sepia ink.

"Earth Layers" collagraph print ©Fenfolio2014

For the plate below (10 x 10 cm) I used dried leaves and flowers, dried lychen and some embroidery thread. I sealed it off with acrylic matt medium to see how it would compare with shellac knotting. For just one print it's fine but I wouldn't recommend it if a larger edition is being printed as it's not as tough as shellac knotting.

Collagraph plate "Organic 1" ©Fenfolio2014

It was then printed on Fabriano paper with oil-based sepia ink.

"Organic 1" collagraph print ©Fenfolio2014

This plate was created by applying polyfiller (I use the powder form and then add water) onto grey mountboard with a palette knife and embossing a pressed dried flower and a piece of scrim into it. Just before the polyfiller had hardened I took the materials away and an impression was left behind.

Collagraph plate "Organic 2" ©Fenfolio2014

The plate was then printed on Fabriano paper with oil-based sepia ink.

"Organic 2" collagraph print ©Fenfolio2014

Now we have been introduced to various printmaking techniques during the course, we can choose which one to focus on for our personal project. I have already decided to combine drypoint on perspex with collagraphy and in March 2015, when the course is finished, I hope to show you my final design!


  1. Your prints are fabulous Fen! You have really found a new technique that suits you. I can't wait to see the results of your personal project.

  2. Thanks for the compliment, Catherine! Many more prints will follow later this year as I have just signed up for a week long printmaking course in Ullapool: http://www.bridgehouseart.co.uk/2014/12/creative-responses-to-natural-world.html#.VJrpu_-AH8. Merry Christmas!