18 August 2013

Curwen workshops - collagraphs

I had a fab three days last week at the Curwen Print Study Centre, near Cambridge UK. Tuesday was collagraphs, Wednesday was drypoint, and Friday was linocut. I would have done the whole week (monopronts and woodcuts) if the two other days hadn’t been fully booked!

So, Tuesday – collagraphs. As you need a press for this technique, and I (sadly) don’t have one, this was completely new to me. Using a piece of mount board as a base, I stuck various items on (using PVA glue), and also cut into the surface of the mount board in some places. The things you can use are without limit – anything that has texture is fair game! The only thing to remember is that your overall plate (mount board plus stuck-on bits) shouldn’t end up being too thick (from thinnest point to thickest point), as you’ll have problems printing the ink evenly. When you’re happy with your plate, let the glue dry and then apply a couple of thin layers of varnish to seal it.

We then inked up intaglio – we scumbled the ink into the grooves and recesses of the surface, then wiped the plate using scrim (a kind of open mesh material). This leaves the relief parts free of ink and the recesses inked up. Then to the press – plate on press, damp paper on plate, packing paper on top of that, then ‘heave ho’ on the press! The paper needs to be slightly damp so the fibres get properly pressed into the recesses of your plate. Result:

Next step was to roll over the plate – using a roller you apply ink to the relief parts of the plate. The plate still has ink on it from the intaglio stage, so when it goes in the press both intaglio and relief area print:


As you can (hopefully) see, I did figurative subjects (cat, landscape), but some of the others produced some fabulous abstract prints. The scope is endless, so much you can do with textures and colour!


  1. Lovely to see what you did on your course :)

    1. Glad you like it Ann, I'm going to do a blog post for each of the other two days as well. I enjoyed these workshops so much, and I'm hoping to go back for some of the 2-day courses. Highly recommended!


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