Gallery of past work

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Intaglio printing with Sue Brown Term 2

I am once again taking a course of classes with Sue Brown up at the yard: ARTspace in Cheltenham. It is a pleasure to be back but now, after week 4 of the course I've been having a few thoughts about my work.

We spent today printing up small plates that we'd made over the last two weeks using various techniques - especially applying carborundum and then applying and working into scrim and repair plaster and exterior quality wood glue. The idea was to maximise contrast and to include interesting marks.

Today, as I viewed the prints I'd pulled, I found myself pondering two questions:

1. Why are my prints so often less interesting than the cleaned off plates?

2. And (linked to the first) why is there too little contrast within the prints?

First of all, the print (plus the requested chine collé which seems to add little here) ...

And then, the plate after printing and cleaning off ...

The answer to both interrelated questions I suspect involves the amount of glue applied: too few layers of it on the light parts of the plate (it gives almost white areas within the print when properly applied) and too much glue under the carborundum (which means that the carborundum which is supposed to give really concentrated areas of deep colour is muted as the underlying glue resists the ink and /or cracks).

Ah well ... next time ...


  1. I sure wish I had an answer for you, but this technique is too deep for me ... especially when you toss around words that I have never heard before !
    Whatever, I really commend your efforts and patience to learn new things !!
    I have played around a few times with chemicals, but much prefer my simple, acrylic paints brushed onto cotton, then sewn with thread ... that's about as far as my patience goes ;) Good on you, Margaret !

    1. Thank you, Sharron. I think I already know the answer ... it's just doing it that's the challenge! Hey ho!

  2. Margaret, I found that keeping a notebook with effects, results, and my comments as I went through my printmaking classes was of enormous help. For instance I made a chart of carborundum 'recipes' noting quantities of glue relative to the quantity and size of carborundum. Somehow the very asking of the questions, and the noting of the answers was such an important part of the learning process - we ex-teachers have to learn to become pupils again!
    It looks as if you are having fun, whatever, and that is paramount!

    1. Thanks, Olga. I am having fun but it's tinged with frustration! Your comment has me rushing for Word and A4 paper to make just such a chart as you describe. I keep records as I go along but not as systematically and, as I only attend the course for one morning a week, I find I forget my observations from week to week and make the same mistakes over and over again. Every week, I think if only I could repeat something immediately this wouldn't happen. Writing about it here is a help too as I it hlps me to articulate what I think went wrong.
      You refer also to the teacher-turned-pupil thing ... always a painful role reversal, I think!


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