Friday, 25 March 2011

Collagraph Printing

One of the great things about doing an art degree is that you get to try out lots of techniques not directly related to your core subject.

I have really been enjoying experimenting with collagraph printing.  Having worked so much with textiles I have bags full of lovely little scraps of textured fabric and fibres that I simply cannot bear to throw away, and making collagraph plates has been the perfect opportunity to put some of them to good use.

My plates are simply a small square of thick cardboard onto which I have glued little scraps of texture. Once the glue is dry the plates need to be coated with varnish to seal them - I use shellac because it's nice and thin and dries quickly.

Then it's a matter of experimenting with applying the ink - some plates work better with the ink applied to the high points, some work better with the ink applied all over and then wiped off the high points.  The ink is oil based and rather sticky - quite different from anything I have worked with before.  The paper is soaked, placed on top of the inked up plate and sent through the printing press and you never quite know what will come out the other side.  One of the trickiest things is getting the plate and paper lined up so you don't get a wonky print - I've had to practise that!

Cue lots and lots of photos -a bit repetitive - I hope you don't get bored!

I couldn't resist doing a bit of stitching on this one!  The next one I added some water based colour afterwards.

And I did some not-black ones too - although I wasn't very adventurous with the colour!

One of the other fun things is to put the plate through the press without any ink at all, to emboss it onto the paper.

And here it is with just a bit of ink...

I've been back in the print room today, I'm just waiting for a whole new set of prints to dry now...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A pair of shoes

I finished the other shoe - this one is made from teabags - now I have a pair!

Sunday, 20 March 2011


This weekend I was lucky enough to attend a fantastic workshop with the very talented Jennifer Collier.  We spent the morning trying out all sorts of different techniques using recycled bits and bobs to make samples of - what would you call it?  Material?  Paper?  Fabric?  Anyway, we bound all the samples together in great little books for future reference.

On the left here you can see all sorts of bits and pieces trapped in (empty!) teabags held together with wax.  On the right are some bits and pieces in a sandwich bag which has been ironed to hold it together, and behind that another teabag, this time using latex to hold it together.

On the left here I have various bits trapped between 2 layers of pattern tissue paper with wax and on the right, an image from a magazine transferred onto sellotape.

In the afternoon, we each chose one of the materials we had experimented with in the morning, put together a larger piece and made a little shoe from it.  So sweet!  I have another one cut out and ready to sew so eventually this shoe will have a not-quite-matching partner.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day - there was just the right amount to do without feeling too rushed.  If you get the chance to attend one of Jennifer's workshops I recommend you sign up straight away - or maybe visit her new gallery Unit 12 which is just outside Stafford.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

New Hairbands

Just a quick post to show you some new headbands/hairbands I've made.  I don't know why I didn't think of using this lovely frizzy ribbon for hairband flowers before - I think they've turned out rather well!

They will be available in my etsy ffflowers shop very soon.


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