Part 4, Stage 1 – Research into monoprinting and Collatype techniques

Whilst researching this subject I looked around for craft magazines that contained any form of printmaking but was unable to find any. All our shops seem to hold these days are very basic sewing, knitting and particularly cardmaking craft magazines (if they carry any at all). This I find very annoying. I went to my local library but alas no books on the subject either. Our library is very small but you would expect to find at least one print making book on the subject. I am very lucky as the UCA is only about 8 miles away so am going to try and get to their library by the end of this part of the course (it is term break at the moment so it is only open until 5pm) and take a look at the books in there. I find the research part so difficult to fit in around working full time as I am at work when libraries etc. are open and they are closed when I am able to get there. The internet is great but it would be nice to find some other sources.

Mono printing method:

Described in various sources as a ‘one off ‘ printing technique. It involves working initially onto a flat plate made of glass or metal. It can be worked on in different ways. describes it well: ‘Working positively means that the artist will put down imagery with brushes or rollers. Working negatively means that ink is removed with hands, rags, cotton swabs or anything pointed.’The piece of paper that the print is to be taken on is laid on top of the printing plate right side down. describes the printing itself:  ‘The print can be taken by either running it through a press or by hand rubbing/burnishing the back of the sheet of paper.’

Collage can be added during the printing process to add a further dimension. The items to be collaged are glued on the reverse then laid onto the printing plate facing into the ink, some ink can be removed from the plate to allow more of the collage to show through. The paper to be printed is then added as usual and the print taken applying the collage at the same time. This excites me as a possible technique as you would never be entirely sure what you are going to get until the print is taken adding some serendipity and chance to the design.

This piece by Lisa Le Quelenac; a printmaker from Dorset, caught my eye this morning. I love the way the gulls appear almost haunting as they glide on the wind currents; The artist says of this piece: ‘Another monoprint experiment to which I added a little coloured pencil. I cut a paper mask to make the gull shape – it has given me a lot of ideas to think about. I like the contrast in printmaking methods between the painterly looseness of monoprint and the more precise etchings and drypoints. I am filling notebooks at a rate of knots with ideas to further explore. If only there were more hours in the day…’


Sources & further reading for monoprinting:

Collatype printing

Uses print blocks made from found objects such as string, lentils card etc. and textures to create inked impressions of a collaged surface. Val MacCann’s very interesting artists website describes the process particularly well: ‘The Collagraph technique is essentially an experimental and inventive form of printmaking which uses a variety of textured materials glued to a cardboard or MDF board as a base to create a low relief or incised block. The block is sealed, dried, then inked up like an intaglio plate and printed on dampened paper through an etching press. The Collagraph block or matrix can be made up of materials as diverse as scouring pads, wood shavings, tea flakes, sand paper, wall papers, wool/string, tissue and flocked papers fabrics, lace, mesh, feathers, modelling paste, and the list goes on. You can easily be seduced by textures and there is an element of surprise because of its experimental nature.’

Whilst looking into this subject a number of ideas came up that specifically appealed to me and the direction my work has been taking recently.

This collagraph plate by Christopher Skinner that I found on his blog ( particularly appealed to me and fits nicely with the use of found natural objects that I used back in part 2. The grasses are currently going to seed along the path of our daily walk at the moment. I think I may try and incorporate this idea myself.

Sources and further reading for collatype printing

Brenda Hartill and Richard Clarke (2005). Collagraphs and Mixed-Media Printmaking.

Donald Stoltenberg (1975). Collagraph Printmaking.




About Julie Hooker

Having recently returned to my roots in Surrey, I am currently studying a BA Hons degree with the OCA. My work is often inspired by the local countryside in the beautiful Surrey Hills area and the wild rugged nature of the North Cornish coast. Steam engines and abandoned industrial history are also recent themes. A free machine embroiderer and felt maker; I like to explore the use of natural, found materials to create my art, whether that be as raw materials to stitch or weave with or as a material with which to produce dye or print with. Previously, I completed City and Guilds parts 1 & 2 Creative Embroidery at the East Berkshire College in Windsor in 2007. I was also awarded first place in the wearable art section of the National Quilt Championships 2008 and 2009 held annually at Sandown Park.
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