Project 11: Making a test collage block
For this exercise I used an A3 sheet of cardboard on which I glued a number of objects using PVA glue. These included: rice, barley, corrugated cardboard, scrunched tissue paper, sandpaper both smooth and rough, small nails, Kirby grips, metal washers, twisted thread, tea. The block was then sealed using a thin layer of PVA glue before printing.
Test block 1 was inked with caligo safewash water soluble oil ink, using a relief technique. Watercolour paper was selected and soaked and blotted before printing. This produced a reasonable result but did not fully reproduce the surfaces of all the objects on the test plate. The nuts, washers and pins reproduced best on printing. Sandpaper gave an interesting result but the finer grain was not reproduced so clearly. The grains of rice reproduced well from the plate and the barley was also picked up by the ink.
Figure 1 : Test block 1: black on white paper
I varied the process for a second set of prints, using heavier paper and soaking for longer. I then inked the paper using rainbow rolling with alternate red and blue water soluble inks. Soaking the paper definitely helped uptake of the inks. However I found that the paper was difficult to lift from the plate and tended to tear easily.
Figure 2 : Test block 2: rainbow rolled with blue and red inks
Key challenges in Project 11
• Judging how wet the paper should be
• Smudges around the edges of the print
• Paper moving easily over the raised objects on the plate leading to double printing
• Cockling of the paper if it was left to soak for a lengthy period.
• Ink bleeding around the sides of the print
I wanted practice in order to gain more experience of using the materials and techniques initiated when printing from the test blocks. This would allow me to experience working in different ways and potentially at a different scale. This would also provide further opportunities to explore a potential theme for this section of the course. I prepared further blocks as follows :
A small abstract project using washers, sandpaper corrugated paper and tea leaves and several small blocks
Prints made from natural materials such as leaves, string and feathers
Prints made from Ivy leaves and barley which we’re used to construct a wreath