Part 4, Project 2 – Collatype Printing; Exercise 1: Making a collage block and Exercise 2: Printing with a Polyfilla Block.

The first thing to say about my experience of this part of the Course is to mention my strong preference for the printing blocks rather than the actual prints!  Once they have been covered in ink and paint, and their surface has been worn down, they make very interesting surfaces in their own right.  The prints that follow are a selection rather than everything.

General Thoughts while I am in a reflective mood:  The printmaker who most interested me initially was Laurie Rudling, an artist of landscape and the built environment who lives in Norfolk.  His clear images are something to aspire to, I looked forward to achieving something similar and got frustrated when I didn’t.   While attempting to make an image I found myself wishing I could simply PAINT the wretched things!  If I am making an image I don’t think I want any surprises, I need to keep my beady eyes on the paint/ink as it goes on.  However, for creating textures and for experimenting with design, printing works well for me.  Consequently the following images are not eyecatching; however I have been making a  couple of large samples recently, incorporating textural print marks with other techniques and these have excited me.  More on those in a later post.

The Coursebook instructs us to create a collograph plate onto cardboard, divided into 10 sections, with different items glued to each section.  I used a selection of rubber rings, metal jewellery chain, felt squares,  plant material, buttons, string, a wrapped cocktail stick and foam craft circles.  These were painted over with acrylic matt medium to seal.


The resulting print onto paper was disappointing.  I learned that items should be the same height in order to print effectively, and I think the trick would be to run several passes of print, using different plates.  I also think it may be easier to print onto fabric because it molds around all the bumps and valleys .


A selection of mini collatype blocks.  The prints were not particularly successful and, again, I prefer the blocks to the prints!  I also tried making coloured pencil rubbings over them and produced some useful ideas for my sketchbook.

selection of mini collatype printing blocks

I wanted to make a landscape between A4 and A3 size, as required for the final exercise in Part 4, but it did not work at all.  My corrugated card simply made random lines.

Design for a landscape.  Did not work very well, resulted in corrugated lines rather than large shapes
The corrugated card was used in this sample, by impressing the corrugated parts over and over.  Pieces of newspaper stuck to bottom and painted over with a roller.

More odds and ends:

Collograph plate made from gesso textures painted onto card.  The print was rather messy but this plate looks good after painting over with acrylic colours.
Print from the above, using iridescent acrylic paints.
The same colours rolled onto fabrics, ready perhaps for sewing into a collage

Exercise 2, Polyfilla Block.  I bought some ready mixed Polyfilla for this exercise.  Perhaps I rushed, or perhaps I need to experiment with previous materials such as plaster and Sculptamold, or even clay blocks.  I also found this exercise frustrating because I couldn’t see the colour as it was applied.



The polyfilla tended to crumble off after several prints.  The first print onto paper was not very clear, but fabric, once again, worked better.  Some of the polyfilla remains on the surface, adding interest.  A few stencilled spots were applied to give a bit of depth.

blue-green-print  bue-green-sample

My second attempt worked better.  I am reminded of those school textbook diagrams of pea plants growing up through the ground (second photo below).

Printing plate

Printed onto cotton calico; it was very brash and green so I softened by adding gesso over the surface.  I am pleased with this one, and wish I had applied the white gesso more evenly down the sides.


There is very little described on this post, considering the number of attempts I’ve made but I am going to stop talking about the collatype section here and move onto my next post about a large, red collage of monotype printed scraps which has really excited me and I needed to produce something I feel proud of.


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