A Kiss is Still a Kiss
8" x 10" on unryu
I've been building a collagraph plate over the last week or so, off and on and thought it was about time I took it for test run today. A collagraph is a printing plate, producing a relief print, but built up of pieces of low relief objects or paper/card that become the print surface instead of carving into a block, as with lino.
While cleaning out the studio last week, I found a few old Purity Kisses candies and tossed the candy but kept the wrappers more or less the same shape as when they had candy in them. I glued them to a piece of backing board along with some yarn linking the wrappers and coated the glued areas with sand for texture. Once the glue dried, I gave the whole plate several coats of varnish.. I used Liquitex gloss medium and varnish. It provides a water proof surface on which to ink the plate.
I used a brush and Caligo water soluble inks to cover the plate and then wiped off most of the ink. I experiemented with several papers for these first prints. BK Rives was used for the first 4 and I soaked it and think used it a little too damp as it bled on the edges and the definition wasn't as crisp as I wanted. I added some washes of watercolour to one of the initial prints just to see how it would look and hold up to the extra water. It passed well on those counts.
Additional prints were made using sekishu, chiri and a piece of unryu paper that had flecks of metallic gold in it. I liked the unryu and sekishu papers best for this printmaking. With a light spray to dampen them enough for the fibres to relax, they seemed to pick up just the right amount of ink from the plate.
I used my hands to press the dampened paper into the cracks and crevices of the paper but still didn't get the results I wanted, so I reverted to the 'foot press'. This involves sandwiching the plate and print paper between layers of paper towel and felt and literally walk over all over it to mimic a printing press. And it works beautifully. Just don't let anyone watch you do it or they'll ask lots of strange questions...