Print 1. Project 11: Making a test collage block

The initial step for this project asks us to create a 16 section collage block using a variety of items with different surfaces, shapes and textures.

BLOCK 1: This  is on a base of 4mm PVC foamex board.  Some of the items were initially glued in place but wouldn’t stay so I used impasto gel medium to adhere them, when dry I coated the surface with the same product.  I then used a liquid gesso, finally finishing with four coats of satin varnish.

Items adhered to the base are as follows:
Top left quarter clockwise – cocktail sticks and small paddle sticks, cotton and synthetic laces, rubber washers, bubble wrap.
Top right quarter clockwise – adhesive velcro circles (both the fluffy and the hook sides were tried), paper-clips, sequins, cut cardboard diamonds.
Bottom left quarter clockwise – flat metal spirals, stiff canvas, plastic sections from a bath slip-resist mat, seed beads.
Bottom right quarter clockwise – string strips, rods and fine cutting, cotton lace trim, brads that have had the prongs flattened, straw, flat metal washers.

P11-PrepAClose up of ‘pebble effect’ bath mat which I cut section from and the brads before and after flattening with pliers.

P11-PrepBBLOCK 2: Here I have used 3mm PVC foamex board and embossed some items into the surface.  Nothing has been adhered to the base for this experiment.


I randomly placed plain string, string with knots (only the knots embossed), paper-clips, laces motifs and part of a lace collar, I ran an embossing wheel over part of the foamex and drew with pen and a stylus.  It looks a right mess at this stage.

BLOCK 3: This is my version of a plate influenced by the work of Brenda Hartill, from her book Collagraphs and Mixed-Media Printmaking.

P11-PrepDThe base is marine-ply.  I tore open some cardboard to reveal the corrugations inside and then ripped it into small pieces.  Heavy-weight paper was torn up revealing jagged layered edges and thin cork sheeting was broken into small rough segments.

These were then glued in numerous layers and sizes to the marine-ply.  Once dry, a medium-weight molding paste was used as a filler to unify the individual components.  After drying, four layers of varnish were applied to the plate.

BLOCK 4: Again, this has been formed using a marine-ply base.

P11-PrepEUsing a small spatula I applied a very, very heavy modelling compound to the board.  It dried extremely fast, much faster than I thought, so it was hard to work into but I got some good marks.  I both dragged and stabbed a fork through it, drew with a stylus and the end of a narrow brayer, rolled an embossing wheel across some sections and tried to dig lines with a tiny chip-board spoon.  If I want to do this again I’ll use one of my less dense modelling mediums to give more time to work into it.  It has been covered with three layers of sealer.

I have ideas for many more plates and textures to try but I’ll start with these.

What’s my impression of the start of this assignment?  It’s very addictive and I’m looking forward to seeing the print results.


About Claire B

I am a passionate printmaker, paper maker and book artist. I'm a 'forever' student and frequently attend courses and workshops to extend and improve my creative skills.
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