Making Collagraphs

We haven’t been taking the dogs to the woods lately as my youngest (and biggest) dog had some surgery on his cruciate ligament (ruptured) and will only be allowed short lead walks for the next few months.  So when I had the opportunity, I took the little one with me for a nice long walk in the woods and collected what plant matter I could find to make collagraphs with.  I found some lichen, bark, holly, feathers, gingko leaves, grass, and wild carrot – quite a lot considering everything is dying off or gone now that winter has finally arrived.

I spent an afternoon making up small plates to fit A4 size paper, as that is the largest size that my Xcut Xpress will take.  So I am learning the value of working small.  I tried my hand at making some more matts to mount prints on, but I will now leave that to the professionals as I am not really doing a great job with it, even though I know what to do and have the right tool.  However, the tool is great for making bevelled edges for the collagraph plates, so I don’t feel like I wasted any money on that as it will be used.

Once I had enough plates, I glued plant matter with ordinary PVA glue.  Some leaves, like the holly needed to be flattened down, so I have a very heavy book I use for that.  I put some cling film on first and after 24hrs I peeled the plastic off which also gave a nice texture on the plate.  Some of the plant matter was placed between two pieces of card which made some embossing on the plates before gluing them down.

Making collagraph plates can be very time consuming as you are either waiting for glue to dry and then for varnish to dry (2-3 coats front and back) before you can start inking up and printing.

I managed to print from 5 different plates over the weekend.  Now I am just waiting for ink to dry before I can scan them and show you how they came out! 🙂

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