Cherry Blossom Collograph

Cherry Blossom Collograph

In this blog post, you can read about the process of creating a collograph.  I have used this technique in many of my handmade prints - most recently, as part of my Parakeet and Cherry Blossom Statement Print.  The cherry blossom tree in grey and pink is a collagraph, and perfectly compliments the green parakeet linocuts.  Collographs are a brilliant way of adding texture to a piece of work - the resulting prints almost look 3D.  Here is how you do it.

Creating a Collograph

You need mountcard, PVA glue, scissors and a craft knife, and varnish to finish and waterproof the collograph you create.  You also need a selection of items which are fairly flat, and which you can use to create your collograph.  In this case, I sketched out cherry blossom and a branch onto a piece of mountcard.  I cut out lots of flowers from some vintage lace.  I glued them into place onto my sketch.  I then used a craft knife to cut out my branch and cut round the flowers.  This is the hardest part of the process, and you need to take regular breaks, as it is tough on your wrist!  I cut into the mountcard as well, to recreate the texture of bark.  Finish it off with several coats of varnish, to make sure it is waterproof.  Leave it to dry.

Printing a Collograph

You can see the final collograph here.  In order to print it, I made up some grey ink up.  I made it a loose ink with a lot of plate oil.  I used an old toothbrush to work the ink into the detail of the fabric flowers and the cuts in the mountcard.

How to ink a collograph plate

Using a small roller, loaded up with an intensely coloured pink ink, I rolled over the flowers of the cherry blossom.  It was printed onto thick white paper which had been dampened in a sink of water, laid flat on the mirror above the sink, and the excess water squeezed out with flat hands.  It is necessary to use damp paper in order to make sure you can transfer all the ink from the thick piece of collograph.  The print is blotted between paper, put between boards, and left to dry overnight under piles of books.  You can paint over the collograph with water based inks - this can create a really nice effect.  However, on this occasion, I used the collagraph in this simple format, and partnered it with 3 linocuts of parakeets. I am absolutely delighted with how my parakeet statement print has turned out.  I love the 3D effect of the cherry blossom alongside the delicate green of the parakeets.  You can find out about other collograph prints here - my hummingbird print and carp print.   

Parakeet Statement Print

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