This is not something I’ve done much of in the past as I lean more towards ‘manufactured’ shapes and abstract designs but as I’ve been saving and drying some plant material it seemed like a good opportunity to put them to use.
The paper sizes are the same as those for my Connectivity/Connections project and I’ve mainly used 250gsm BFK Reeves.
The idea is to roll ink onto acetate, place plant material on, put through the press and then continue inking and turning plant materials and adding layers to the monoplate (acetate) as you take a progressive set of prints.
Print 1 was the initial inking, and damp 250gsm Arches 88 paper was used. BIG mistake as I hadn’t realised that number 88 in the Arches range is a watercolour paper and soaks up water like blotting paper. Fine for my dry-paper monoprints but a disaster for this type of image transfer.
Print 2 & 3 show some layering with number 3 being a ghost print, but the damage was done to the imagery by using the wrong paper for image 3. However, you can see below how well the plant fibres held onto the ink from print 1 and how much detail is possible from textural leaves and foliage.
Print 6 is after several layers of inked material, trial printing (see above) and continual overlaying of plant material. This creates some nice strong imagery with ghosting in the background, which is what I was aiming for.
By dampening the printing paper (and using the correct paper to start with!) it’s possible to continually reuse the original acetate base without cleaning residual ink between prints. You just need to continue to re-ink your components – in this case plant material – and place them in different positions before pulling a new print. The imagery gradually becomes more complex as some areas fade whilst new layers come to the fore.
As an example, you can see in print 6 where the 3 leaves on a single stem were run through the press to pick up ink initially then turned over and printed on top of the residual image. In print 7 they have been re-positioned again, creating a third image transfer while the previous layers lighten and merge into the background.
Having several inked acetate bases at the same time enables you to build up quite a decent resource of material to be interchanged and overlaid.