Thursday, November 19, 2015

Multi-Plate Colour Collagraph Printmaking Workshop

Jeannie Heynatz, Art Centre Manager  invited me to hold a Multi-plate Colour Collagraph workshop at Yalanji Arts - Mossman Gorge in November 2014.

During the workshop my aims as a facilitator was to work with the artists to explore multi-plate colour printing through the use of textured Collagraph plates. The Yalanji artists worked to create a series of plates that were printed together to produce multi-colour monoprints. The students experimented with a diverse range of materials for plate creation to explore monoprinting techniques including the use of transparent inks.

Day 1: On arrival to the Arts centre I was welcomed with a warm reception from the Yalanji artists and staff. I unloaded my car full of materials and we all sat around the studio work table where I introduced myself and my arts practice. I recently held a major solo exhibition at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville, and I had a box of catalogues left over which I gave a copy to each workshop participant. We discussed my abstract imagery and how I source my inspiration to create my Collagraph prints. The students were very interested to work in abstraction and following my lead on gathering imagery to create prints during the workshop. We had two digital SLR cameras to work with and set off down to the Gorge to take some photos. The artists embraced this process with enthusiasm making me feel very welcomed and as a result I was very excited to work with this beautiful group of artists.

Returning to the studio we gathered around the work table where I introduced the materials, and lead a discussion on image design.  I demonstrated plate creation using a range of different materials and gave a printing demonstration to ensure each artist fully understood the techniques and processes to be used over the three day workshop.

Day 2: I was looking forward to returning to the Arts Centre where I was met by the artists who ready to get started. Each artist approached their imagery with a fresh outlook of learning about abstraction and mark making. Two of the males artists in the group chose to work with their traditional imagery that they have been developing at the Art Centre, feeling more confident in this area.

We had a lot to get through in the studio, as each process in creating their Collagraph plates were quite involved. The artists worked with 4 plates each so they were learning to think about composition, layering, colour and plate registration. Some artists worked quite freely on each plate and others were more structured in creating templates of colour and line so each plate when printed created a tight image made up of 4 colours. An artist in the group was quite experimental showing innovation in using other printmaking techniques such as screen printing to put their imagery down on the boards


Day 3: All the artists were starting to get a little tired at this point but were eager  to see their hard work printed.  The studio was abuzz with activity.

I demonstrated how to select blankets best suited for Collagraph printing, how to set the press, and safe use of the press. We discussed colour choice and how to mix colours including how to record your ink recipes for later use in the studio particularly if you like a unique colour that has been mixed. How to store mixed inks for later use and how to clean the Collagraph plates.

The artists produced very beautiful prints and I was very happy with the outcomes including their original prints and how the workshops participated in the professional development and skills exchange workshop.

Materials used in the workshop
•    Strawboard or otherwise known as Boxboard
•    Shellac - best product I have used is Feast Watson, Mastertouch shellac
•    PVA glue- Exterior Aquadhere PVA glue
•    Carborundum grit - fine grade 180 mesh
•    Stipple brushes - (I have plenty)
•    paintbrushes
•    Textured Artist medium
•    A range of colour etching inks including a Transparent Ink Butches paper
•    printing paper - etching
•    old telephone books
•    Etching press/blankets