Collagraph printmaking is an intuitive process using plates built by collaging texture and layers, often from found materials. It’s very much about play and exploration, the discovery of pattern and shape, and a tactile investigation of matrix (plate) and the way ink settles in, wipes off, and prints via press. From start to finish, the hands of the printmaker are in the image.
Plates & Collage
Plates are often constructed of paper or board, layered with gesso or gel medium to seal and protect collage elements. In this form of collage, think texture rather than flat image.
Though collagraphs certainly lend themselves well to landscape, even architectural elements and figures (even dinosaurs!) are well represented in our experimentation.
Below is a gallery of images of some of our first experimental prints in this class. Each of these plates was constructed on a 4-ply davey board (you can use mat board or even printmaking paper for your base if you seal it well!). We carved into the plates and built up, using reductive and additive techniques.
Some Notes from Mary for folks coming into the studio for Collagraph class
Construct a printing plate using textures that intrigue you.
Jump into exploring abstract compositions.
Perfect your print with just the right inking technique, an intaglio wipe or a relief roll.
Use stencils and play with monotype enhancement.
The operative word: Play.
Bring in an old collagraph plate or make a new one. Trade printing plates with your neighbor and inspire each other.
What will be unique in this go round is the collaborative nature of building an image. We can’t help but be influenced by what we see around us. Whether you are an experienced printer or a beginner, new ideas feed the trough. Work alone or in pairs!
March is “Get inky at Tiger Lily Press” month.
Mary’s Work & Artist Statement
Printmaking has held my interest over the years both due to the interrelationship of craft and aesthetic considerations as well as the inevitable surprise embedded in the final pull on any given plate. In each print I build layers with multiple passes through the press. Through this method I gradually discover the path of the gaze as it is directed across the rich colorful environment. The exercise becomes a daunting and exciting challenge. Politically I feel most charged by the environmental issues we as a civilization currently face. The new work explores my self reflection on my place in the landscape, a terrain of unfolding light. By being a member of two print cooperatives, my work thrives with the cooperative nature of the press environment which reinforces a community of conscientious and supportive artists.
Our Collagraph Tips & Tricks
When finishing your plate, be sure everything is thoroughly dry and stuck down, otherwise there’s a chance air bubbles will rupture and compromise your plate. If everything isn’t fully cured, your plate may lift or pull apart during printing in the press, or even stick to the press bed. We had pretty good luck using 3-4 finishing coats of gloss medium applied to both sides of the plate (let dry between) with a final cure of 48 hours before inking & printing.
Old toothbrushes are excellent for getting ink down into the crevices.
Try to stay under 1/4 inch in plate depth variations to assure your wet paper will reach the inky low points. Pressure variation on the press bed can help with that too. Play! It’s all about finding what works for you.
Community and play are key. Multiple participants mentioned being inspired by the space and people in it. What we wanted most? More time. More time printing, more time connecting with other artists and learning from and about them.
Collagraph Classes for Spring at Tiger Lily Press
Registration is open. Classes are limited to 6 students.
Experimental Collagraph Printmaking
Thursdays, March 9, 16, 23, 30, 6:00-8:30 pm
Instructor: Mary Woodworth
Make your own plates with ordinary materials. Using cardboard, paper, fabrics, modeling paste, and acrylic mediums participants will make plates that can be printed alone or in layers. A unique aspect of this class will be the introduction of block out stencils and use of cut shape collagraph plates to expand the possibilities for abstract compositions. Returning students welcomed to continue exploration of techniques presented in previous class.
$120.00 non-members/ $105.00 members
$10.00 supply fee included
10 PDU contact hours are available for teachers. » see more
marywoodworth.com » sneak a peek at the instructor’s work
Tiger Lily Press Class List » full course offerings
gallery of images » get inspired by browsing collagraphs at Pinterest