Sunday, 22 December 2019

Collage and Collograph at Collieston

"A Weekend of Colour in Colliestonread the email, an invitation to: "Produce a range of your own individually designed paper products using ink washes and printing with your own handmade collograph blocks."  I've wanted to try printmaking for a long time, and was familiar with the terms lino-cut and wood-block, but 'collograph' had me puzzled. 

Alexa - what's a collograph?

This print technique is a relatively new kid on the block, developed in the mid 1950's by US art professor, Glen Alps.  He coined the term 'collograph' by combining the Greek words for glue (koll) and drawing (graph) as a variety of materials are stuck to a rigid board to make a printing plate.

I used string, corrugated card,  embossed wallpaper, polystyrene and some bits of a felt coaster glued onto off-cuts of mounting card to make my collographs.  Earlier, workshop tutor, Morag Tweedie, had shown us how it's done, making three simple examples and demonstrating how to ink them up and create prints with them.  It's an accessible technique requiring readily available, low cost materials and it's quick and easy to make another.

To start the day, however, we were encouraged to unleash our creativity by painting papers with Procion dyes, normally used to stain fabric.  I used a range of brushes and  tools, including a plastic fork, and particularly liked the splodgy effect of the dye on the damp paper when salt crystals were sprinkled on top.
Setting aside our painted sheets to dry, we began printing with the collograph blocks onto a variety of papers.  The paint is squeezed onto to a glass plate then applied to the collagraph with a small hand roller called a brayer. Longevity is never intended for these printing plates and part of the charm of the collograph technique is that the number of prints that can be produced is relatively limited.  It's an accessible art-form requiring low cost, readily available materials so you can always make more.

No implement in the studio was off-limits - the end of this pencil dipped in yellow paint made the perfect centre for my collograph flower!

I really found it satisfying to print my collograph on my own painted paper (far right).

The clothes airer provided served as a colourful drying rack for all our prints.

Morag then demonstrated how we could use our painted papers for collage.  A vibrant selection of sample papers was provided as well and I used some of it to make a cheese plant leaf.

I then used my own designs to create a seascape, tearing rather than cutting the delicate paper before wielding the Pritt stick and gluing it in place. Also - best not to sneeze at this point and dislodge your carefully arranged precious fragments.

When it's all stuck down, applying a mount really completes the picture.

I signed up to the print workshop at Collieston with my talented friend Carol (left) who has accompanied me before to crafty classes.  I only know one person who actually lives in the tiny North East fishing hamlet and that's Susan, who coincidentally turned out to be the third member of the day's class!  Look how happy we are with our finished collages.  It was a very productive day!

Once home I set about making my collographs into finished items.  The flower prints were mounted onto marbled card and made into thank you notes as it had recently been my birthday.

I cut up all the prints of presents and made them into Christmas gift tags.  Never throwing away those wee bits of ribbon finally paid off!

I also found when I got home that I'd enough paper to make a second beach scene collage, similar but not quite the same as the first.

All they need is the right sized frames and they'll be up on the wall - well, in my craft room at least.

I do hope the tutors, Morag and Anne, come back to Collieston next year for another weekend of colour and creativity.


1 comment

  1. Very entertaining reading your blog stories. It's like Blue Peter and Countryfile all rolled into one. And a bit of Kirsty Allsop thrown in. :)


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