Collagraphs Project: Further exploration

Figure 1: Hubcap explorations

Exploring an abstract approach

This project was inspired by a visit to the transport museum to look at various modes of transport as I was considering continuing the theme of “Journey” for this section of the course. I number of small sketches were carried out and photographs taken. I was interested in the combination of small parts such as cogs and wheels and how these came together to form a whole structure such as a vehicle.

I thought that it could be possible to use the very small rings from the test block to explore this further.

To take this idea forward I used a hubcap found on the street which was photographed and then subsequently abstracted using the Procreate computer programme to zoom in and experiment with the colour range. These investigations led to the development of 6 small plates from which I printed a number of test prints in my sketchbook. The prints were carried out on soaked heavy watercolour paper.
I liked the idea that these could be used together to produce a larger piece of work by combining the prints in a variety of arrangements on one large plate to produce a larger scale piece. .

Figure 2: Further abstraction hubcap  / multiple collage blocks

The small sandpaper collage produced excellent results and I loved the colour combinations obtained from overlapping phthalocyanine blue and Napthol red.

Figure 3: Experimental printing using collage blocks

I liked the industrial feel of the combined shapes and the rust like colour produced by overprinting these shapes and colours. Definitely a possibility for a future project. I was struck by the resemblance of the sandpaper shape to the head of a fish and to a sailing boat. It reminded me of my visit to Dubai and the iconic shape of the Bourj al Arab hotel whose distinctive shape can be seen for miles around. I developed this in one of the plates by constructing small sail shaped forms from corrugated cardboard. These also printed very well on soaked paper.

Inspiration from the work of other Artists

Lesley Davie


Figure 4: “Earth and Water” 60×90 cms : Leslie Davey

In considering how I might take forward an abstract project, I was inspired by the work of Scottish artist Leslie Davie, and in particular her “Earth and Water”, series of collages which draw on the textures and patterns of the island landscape and waters of the island of North Uist where the artist spent time completing a residency (Dave, L. )
For this series, she produced a series of collagraph plates using a mount board baseplate in a technique in which she both adds materials and tears the surface of the plate to replicate the landscape and water formations found on the island. For the Earth elements of the work, natural materials were aged and applied to the plate and fixed to the plate using PVA or wood glue helping to reproduce natural elements such as wood and stone.
To devlop the “water” elements of the piece the artist used thin aluminium plates, sanded to create the desired effects.

The artist then arranged the plates together and covered them with a newsprint mask to cover all but the central circular zones above the main areas of interest, and then printed onto thick paper to create blind embossing around the small circles on the printed page. The artist used a press.

Response to the work

I loved the way in which the artist was able to present several small images on one page to unify her theme of Earth and water. The Earth colours used also complemented the overall theme. The use of circular shapes reinforced the “Earth” concept and the whole came together in a way which I found very harmonious and pleasing to look at.

Future work

This is definitely something I would like to take forward in my own work although I think the lack of a press will limit what can be achieved. In my own work, I attempted to overcome this by burnishing and by the use of heavy books placed above the plate to increase the pressure applied to the paper.


Hartill, B. and Clarke, R. (2005) Collagraphs and mixed media printmaking (printmaking handbook). P 53. London: A & C Black Publishers.


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