Personal investigation combining printmaking with chine collé

This assignment will focus on a personal project, using the technique of Chine Collé. To begin this section I wanted to understand the process of chine collé better so I experimented quite a bit in order to hone my skills. The first series I created was using a small abstract block I had created earlier in the module.

The first print I had forgotten to cover some of the marks that I hadn’t intended to print with masking tape so this has come through. The second I believe I had applied the paper glue side down instead of up so it hasn’t quite stuck to the support paper! The third print is getting there but the tissue paper I think became a little too wet so tore at the edges. Finally the red print I think is the most successful of all four prints.

I had lots of fun printing these ombré flower pattern prints, the first is really fun as I’ve used “Happy Birthday” tissue paper underneath. I’m pretty pleased with the execution in all of the flower prints and I think my favourite is the lilac tissue paper as it has a really nice contrast with the red-orange-yellow ombré print. The last print using pink tissue paper however does have the least rippling of the support paper so overall looks cleaner than the earlier prints. (I was using shoji paper which is already quite thin so the wet PVA glue on the tissue paper causes the paper to ripple more so than a thicker paper would.)

I also wanted to experiment with using the coloured tissue paper and a simple black ink, the car from my travels in Malaysia seemed to fit well with this. I started just using the tissue paper to cover the whole back ground and then experimented a little more with combining colours and also adding gold leaf. Unfortunately the gold leaf I had ordered is a thin roll, which I hadn’t realised so it was difficult to cut out and slot into a space in the tissue paper. Instead I glued the gold leaf onto the tissue paper and then printed on top. I’d like to purchase some bigger sheets of gold leaf to experiment a little more with this as its very difficult using the thin roll.

Lastly I wanted to continue in using different tissue papers in the same composition. I returned to my test lino cut block and cut out squares for each corresponding section. I had attempted to add the gold leaf to one of the sections however it just stuck to the lino block and not the page. I also wanted to experiment with the tissue paper extending beyond the main print as I’d like to incorporate this idea into my final prints.

I had worked quite small in my previous experiments so I thought I should try to work with a larger size print. The first example I painstakingly cut out the tissue paper to fit into the dress shape and some selected flowers, however the execution was especially fiddly due to how delicately the tissue paper had been cut. I then tried to use a simple sheet of gold speckled tissue paper across the whole print, I was concerned about trying to add adhesive to the whole surface and sticking this onto the print so I instead glued the tissue paper onto the support paper directly and then printed on top, but as you can see where the print and the adhesive has made contact the ink has spread slightly. I also used Yamato sticking paste for both of these prints but I didn’t really enjoy the thickness of the paste and found this harder to work with. For the final print I reverted to using watered down PVA as I had done in all subsequent prints and feel this works much better for me. Instead of intricately cutting out the flower shapes I decided to haphazardly place bursts of colour in the back ground.

I then thought about how I could introduce colour and chine collé into the entire print and immediately thought about using my poly filler collagraph as the background for the flowers and then using the chine collé technique to pick out the dress alone, with the lino cut print pulling all of the components together. I knew I had to use a mask in order to leave the space blank for Rosa and only print the flowers however unfortunately in my first few attempts I was quite confused with how the prints would transfer and affixed the mask the wrong way around! However this was not a total loss as I found the paint mixing process very helpful. For example I much preferred the prints where there was more of a distinction between the pinks and yellows, as I continued with printing, these colours merged together on the sponge I was using and became less vibrant.

Once I had fixed the issue with the mask I set about printing the poly filler collagraph for the flowers. I used this time two separate sponge applicators to add the pinks and yellows in different sections and then used a sponge to very gently merge them together. I think the overall outcome is very good, and will be a great basis for the chine collé and lino cut print layer.

Before I printed the final outcomes I wanted to experiment with different glues, to be sure which I found to be the most effective, and my tutor had also recommended trying pritt stick and spray adhesive which I hadn’t used before so I needed to practice this before using my finished collagraph prints. The first I used watered down PVA, which I became used to in my earlier experiments but it does make the tissue paper incredibly wet, and then causes the thin shoji support paper to ripple slightly too. The second I used the Japanese rice paste which although not as wet is incredibly sticky and seemingly quite quick drying. Then I moved onto the pritt stick, which was easier to work with but didn’t seem to stick very well. Lastly I tried the spray adhesive which was my favourite of all of them. I could apply an even coverage to the surface, it wasn’t too wet and I felt like it adhered to the paper well.

Here is the final series all brought together. I used a pink and yellow collagraph using poly filler and masking to create the base layer and then worked in the chine collé over the top using my lino cut, blank ink, spray adhesive and coloured tissue paper. I’m really pleased with the result and perhaps if I were to develop this further I might use mono print and masking just to add in some skin tone to Rosa. For this personal project I decided I wanted to return to the Rosa Print in order to experiment with the different techniques and to breathe new life into the original lino cut.

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