Tree theme: Collagraph Plate 1

Recently I spent a day photographing trees and plants in the botanic gardens.  I’m contributing to an exhibition to be hosted in the gardens in June and wanted to get a feel for the area.  Although I’ve spent many years attracted to the textures, colours and patterns of different terrain, on this occasion I looked at the same aspects but in relation to plants and trees.

My start point for this trial collagraph was this photo:

bl-plate1aSuch a lovely tree trunk: ringed, with a thin split bark lower portion becoming smooth as you move up the length.

bl-plate1bThe base of the plate is made from mountboard.  An open-weave scrim was cut and torn to create an uneven surface and was stuck to the board.  Modelling paste was applied to create the impression of the rings.  Using a scalpel I carefully cut away areas from the board to create the plant fronds in the background.

An initial print proof was taken, with only the tree itself being inked up.

At this point I was just trialling the colours I would use to bring the tree to life and I was interested in the blank embossing effects from the fronds.

bl-plate1cAbove Left: not enough ink but great surrounding embossing. Middle: ink coverage better but a bit spotty. Right: good coverage with the darker areas towards the edging of the tree giving it a sense of depth and ’roundness’.

bl-plate1dNext I worked on the front fronds, in anticipation of colouring the background.  I’d collected some dried grasses.

Even though I’d pressed the fronds they really weren’t flat, so I inked up some acetate, laid the plant material on and ran it through the press with some spare paper.  A great way of getting ink smoothly onto the surface of things like this, and you can sometimes get an interesting print from the ‘waste’ acetate plate.
The grasses were then ready to be laid over the original print plate and printed in one hit.

bl-plate1eAbove is the waste print made from the above process.  OK, not an artwork but then I was only trying to get ink evenly on the grasses.  Great colour though!  I looked at the remaining ink on the acetate and liked what I saw.  so I took prints of that as well.

bl-plate1fThey’ll be great with some overprinting later on.  However, I digress.  The final prints:

bl-plate1gA good day in the studio and all feeding my brain with ideas for the main project, along with the tea-bag work over the last couple of weeks.


About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in My Creative Pieces, My prints and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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