Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: collagraphs


Anna, in a nice comment on Memory/Dreams II asked "what's a collagraph"? Googling came up with these results:

"The Collagraph print is best described as a collage printmaking technique, where the image is composed from a variety of textured materials glued to a substrate and printed either in an intaglio or relief fashion." - from EKU.

"In a collagraph, the plate is built up and manipulated by the artist, using a collage-like process which combines materials as diverse as cardboard, fabric, gesso, glue, string, sand, carborundum grit, and found objects. The artist can also draw lines into the gesso before it hardens. As a result, the plate may print as both relief and intaglio. Collagraph prints are usually pulled on a press." - from Washington Printmakers, a good site on printmaking techniques.

Back in March, I wrote two posts What is a Print? and More on Prints, which give some links to sites about printmaking techniques. Interesting that they did not include the collagraph.

The Dreams series of prints that I have been putting up recently, are all utilizing the collagraph technique, sometimes in combination with other media. I am currently working with collagraphs again, now in combination with inkjet prints - I will show these when they are done. I usually like using matboard as the plate, and with acrylic medium I glue on textures like string, cloth, tissue paper, as well as utilizing the medium's painterly textures, and pressing in textures using various objects. It's a very enjoyable and non-toxic process that gives interesting results!

Marja-Leena | 23/10/2004 | 7 comments
themes: Dreams, Printmaking, Printworks


This just came to me....

A collograph may make you laugh
And an etching's rather fetching...

I must try to finish it - or can you? Have been reading all your latest entries, and find them as interesting as usual. Have missed you and my voyage round the blogs.

About a month ago here in Japan I saw a special on the public tv station called NHK (similar to the BBC), about wood engraving, as done by Hillary Paynter. When I was a boy I was mesmerized by wood engravings and have always wanted to do them. The desire is still there... there is nothing like the beauty of black and white lines in a simple book. Some of the best memories of childhood illustrated books were of wood engravings or pen and ink drawings that I still call up even all these years later.

Anna - cute! Look forward to the rest of the ditty.

Butuki - welcome!! Yes, I love those old wood engraving illustrations too! You are probably aware that contemporary Japanese printmaking is considered the best in the world, and is highly valued in their own country. We could emulate that respect elsewhere! They are master is papermaking as well.

Thanks to both of you for visiting & commenting.

I've actually done quite a lot of woodblock printing here in Japan since I was a boy. My father's special fascination is woodblock printing and back in the 70's he co-authored one of the first English books on modern woodblock printing techniques here in Japan. In traditional woodblock printing two of my favorite aritists are Hokusai and Hiroshige, in whose works their genius really becomes apparent when you've tried cutting and printing the blocks yourself.

And the paper really is good here. There is a respect for and fascination with paper here that is hard to descibe... even the magazines, commercial books, and stationary are always of the highest quality. I was shocked when I first moved to the States and saw how shoddy paperback book paper was, for instance.

How interesting that you have done Japanese woodblock printing ! I've seen demonstrations but not tried that particular technique. And your father did a book about it - wow! No wonder you have a fascination for it. Do you still do any - maybe show these on your blog? Hokusai & Hiroshige are most famous and even influenced the French Impressionists.

I have several Japanese artist-friends who are excellent printmakers. Did you see this article I wrote a while ago:

A collograph can make you laugh
An etching's rather fetching.
An aquatint makes an A1 print
For those adept at sketching.

Now wood is good
When the cut runs true
And lino's fine, oh yes.
Potato cuts just drive me nuts
For I love to make a mess.

hee hee - that's great, Anna!