Carborundum & Drypoint Printing: Experimentation

In September I did a marvellous 2 day workshop with Brenda Tye and produced a collagraph plate (and print) I was very happy with (amongst a few others I wasn’t so keen on).

This was my initial print:

Since then I’ve been hanging out to reprint it with some added colour.  I know that sounds very easy, and a quick job, but that isn’t the case.

Ink is applied liberally, with a cardboard spatula, across the surface of the print plate and then is selectively wiped back.  Where carborundum is adhered to the collagraph plate it will hold the ink and create a dense print.

As can be seen from the piece above, I decided to create a design with complex alveoli situated within the carborundum areas, making it very, very hard to wipe them clean without removing some of the ink from what should be densely printed sections.  Wiping back the outer surrounding areas was a relatively simple process and only entailed a decision regarding colour placement.

It took 2 1/2 hours to mix my colour palette and produce two coloured prints with fairly good alveoli definition.  But, hey, who cares about the time it takes?  It’s the end satisfaction that counts.

What a difference colour makes.  And one without so much colour:

This second print was wiped back differently to the first one.  I used the tarlatan across the whole motif, thereby removing more from the denser areas and leaving more in the alveoli.

I prefer the piece with more definition and colour, which took considerably longer to achieve.  A great plate and I’m not finished with it yet.  A revisit will happen at some stage I’m sure.

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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 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Carborundum & Drypoint Printing: Experimentation

  1. Great work – I can appreciate the time (as I too tried a caborumdum plate) – but the result is superb. I agree the softer tone is super – but love the other too.

    • Claire B says:

      Thanks Inger. The plate is sealed with shellac which gives the surface a very golden sheen meaning it is very hard to see exactly what colour ink you have applied to which areas and how far to rub it back. I think sealing with a clear varnish will be my preferred option in future. I will be able to control colour placement more effectively then.

      • That is interesting – I sealed with medium and PVA (neighter can be recommened as they become tacky…. I still have so much to learn!!!

        • Claire B says:

          Inger, the thing with shellac is that it is a very, very good sealer and you can also do patterning with it. The ‘blobs’ on the background of my plate are made by dropping thickened shellac onto my pre-shellac-sealed plate, allowing them to run a little and then dry completely. The ink then sits in the recesses around the shapes giving that marvellous effect. I love it. Shellac really seals exceptionally well, but the downside is the resulting golden finish as the plate colour bringing up the issue of seeing what inks you have placed where. In a single colour print you don’t have to worry about it.

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