Carborundum & Drypoint Printing

Workshop with Brenda Tye

A fascinating 2 day workshop where I learned a whole bunch of new techniques.  We were asked to bring any sketches or reference material depicting objects from nature.  I photocopied some of my past ideas:

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As a start point I decided to use a view finder and pick out small sections from my drawings.  I finally settled on the image and section here.  It’s a recent piece from one of Elian’s adventures and I felt the curvy linear shapes might translate well for this course (although we hadn’t actually fully understood what we were going to do at this point).

The advice from Brenda was bold shapes without too much detail as it wasn’t going to be translated into a replica of our original.  I then redrew the area several times in different ways.

(Shocking light in the room when I took the photos) I chose the bottom left image for plate 1, the background fronds/stems from the top right for plate 2 and decided to freehand etch tree outlines on acetate (plate 3).  Nothing if not ambitious!

Plates under construction: shellac, glue, impasto paste, carborundum, etching.
Inking up was fun.

This is the first time I’ve used Akua Intaglio inks.  They are soy-based and apparently don’t skin over in the jar – well that’s a huge plus because the wastage of other inks which harden on top is a big loss of materials and cost.  I’ve read quite a bit about Akua inks, not all favourable, so getting this opportunity to try them out without having to buy my own jars was a bonus.

So what’s the verdict?  Do I like these inks as much as my own Gamblin oil based and the Graphic Chemical Co ones I use at the studio?  Well, they did a fabulous job and printed extremely well.  They seem more liquid than the brands I usually use and that’s fine for intaglio but I’m not sure how they would go for relief printing.  Although they say Intaglio on the label the Speedball site (manufacturer) clearly states ‘ Excellent for Intaglio/Etching, Monotype, Relief and Collagraph printmaking‘.  I have my reservations about rolling them on to lino.

Anyway, here is a range of prints using these plates with differing numbers of layers and order of printing.  Some have a woodblock print as a base layer.

I’m not sure how I feel about the layers together.  They turn into a bit of an abstract nothingness to my eye.  The main feature, the yellow ‘blobby’ plate, which I thought would be great, just looks a mess.  This needs more work to get something cohesive.  Perhaps the yellow plate with a different background and colour.  I need to work more with it.  However, I left it at this in the workshop so I could move on to another theme.

Below is my next design, which is far more successful.  Possibly because it is all on a single plate.

Above: the constructed plate and inked up just prior to printing.

Above: the print.  Very pleased with this first print, based on one of my drawings in the slide show above.  Now I’d like to reprint it in other colourways.

A fantastic two days.  Lots of new techniques and ideas to put into my future work.  I just wish there were 36 hours in a day!!

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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, Workshops & Classes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Carborundum & Drypoint Printing

  1. Pingback: Carborundum & Drypoint Printing: Experimentation | TactualTextiles

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