Thursday, June 24, 2010

New collagraph, finally

I've started sketching out my new collagraph plate and I'm using low-density polyethylene as the surface. (A collagraph--some spell is collograph--is a print that has been made using a collage as the matrix/plate. It can be wiped as intaglio or relief, but I personally have only tried intaglio.) I was hoping to get started on this before leading a workshop on collagraphs at Flatbed this weekend, so I'm on time. Woo hoo!

The plate is 11 x 15" and it's going to be a finger puppet show of Edison and Tesla. Edison is loosely sketched out, sans fingers for now, and Tesla is on tap for tomorrow. The red pencil is just sketch marks. I'll be gluing on white gift bag tissue paper using Liquitex Gloss Medium to resemble curtains and use a stylus to make incised marks on the plate. The minuscule depths of the tissue folds will print and will actually look like fabric. The engraved lines will also hold ink beautifully.

I'll draw and alter the digital photographs I took of my fingers in the puppet, make additional changes in GIMP (open source Photoshop, essentially), print them on laser printer paper, then transfer them to my plate using a blender pen--and bonus--they will automatically transfer in reverse. (The Chartpak Blender Pen is really gross because it contains Xylene. The pen says "non-toxic" on it. Yeah, right. I'll use it outside with my respirator.) These transferred images will only be guides. I'll need to finish up the figures using collage materials or the stylus.

Then I'll have my plate. I'll apply Akua ink and wipe it off with newsprint, with the ink holding in the little crevices created by the collaged materials and incised lines, and voila! I'll be ready to proof. I'll use dampened Rives BFK for my paper and will then run it through Flatbed's French Tool Press. I'll need to re-ink, re-wipe, and re-print for each pull.

Fun, fun, fun! Looking forward to this weekend when I can talk about printmaking to a captive audience for two days!

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