'Collagraph’, sometimes spelled ‘collograph’, originates from the Greek words 'colla', meaning glue, and ‘graph’, meaning to draw. A collograph is essentially a collage of materials of varying textures, glued onto a printing plate, usually thin wood or cardboard.
I first studied printmaking at art college in Bristol and then as a printing method I incorporated into my BA hons degree. I have recently returned to this process at Arthouse in Wakefield and West Yorkshire Print Workshop in Mirfield. I print from a plate I've created, similar to a collage, using paper, ephemera, glue, card and other materials to form a raised, textured surface. A collagraph can be printed in relief or intaglio, depending upon the printing press used and the pressure applied. I first sketch my ideas and then use this technique as a way to engage with a slow practice which I find meditative. I use a blade to cut away certain areas of the plate and combine oil based inks with linseed, reducing jelly in exact proportions to create the exact colour I have in mind. I mix the substances on glass and then with a heavy roller until the correct consistency is achieved. I then apply the ink to the plate and then onto pre-soaked paper I place the components onto the bed of the press and cover with a blanket. A vintage etching Press is then operated making sure the pressure is correct. I hand rotate the large roller on the press which slowly directs the artwork through, similar to the way a mangle works. The resulting piece can then be further developed with more colours, if desired.
As the inks are hand mixed, slight variations will make each one unique. Collagraphs, due to the delicate nature of the plate used, are often monoprints or short, varied editions.