Playing Around with Collographs – Part 2


I don’t know what it is about when you ink a plate that makes you think, “Ahh, this could be good.” Such incredibly false hopes for such a limited knowledge of what I am doing. It’s amazing how easily I think it will be so much better than it really is. Collographs just might not be my thing.

Well that was pitiful I had carved out around the wave and the hill with the road. Thought that the ink would catch in there and give me some definition.  The ink has too much extender in it I think. And the print lacks definition where it is needed, around the camel, boat, sharks, anchor, you name it. So I decide to gesso all the good parts to elevate them and create more of a separation between them and the background.



I increase the amount of ink in the mix and print again.

Believe it or not, I even attempt another collograph with the camel being dragged up the hill to a house. Just the bow of the boat is in the foreground. It is a vertical image. It was embarrassingly bad. So I wonder if the story is so important, go back to etching. There is just too much texture in these collographs. Which is fine if you want what you did in undergraduate school. When you were trying to avoid “wedding cake” plates. Here are some I still have framed and stashed here in the office and and storage room behind me.

The one above my instructor let me use all the packing materials off the latest delivery box of inks for the studio. I liked it rolled with two different inks. I thought it was “mysterious”. Actually it is rather weak by any standard in printmaking.

Here is another one that this one inspired. I was heavily into textures at the time with weaving and basketry.

On this one I was pushing the limits and patience of my professor because I was not only draping cords and fabrics all over the plate, but was printing on a textures surface as well!!! And using two different colors of ink really does not take it out of the realm of what a twelve year old can do.

And one last observation on my early work in this technique. I found a very large framed collograph in the storage room that not only had all these threads, etc draped all over but was printed in the chine colle technique of adding textured and colored papers and even cloth before printing. And if that was not enough texture for me, I actually stitched around the image with varying embroidery threads and stitches. This has not been an affirming visit into the storage room. I need to get rid of that stuff!

I really don’t know why I felt the need to revisit this technique. All it has done is point out its limitations and my own. So in the few days I have spent time, ink, paper and false hopes, I have decided that it is the story of the camel that matters. Me and my camel. I think maybe illustrations (etched of course) of my encouraging the camel to help me get him up the hill. So I am heading back in there with my etching tools and small plates to tell a story.  More about the results later but here is an image of a recent etching and our Christmas card this year which was actually a tiny etching done as part of a series in the same class I was playing around with collographs.