MM – Part Four – Project Two – Exercise Two

Project Two – Exercise Two

Polyfilla block

A deviation from the course notes, I used tile grout for these plates rather than polyfilla. I had tile grout and not polyfilla and also tile grout is waterproof and standard polyfilla isn’t so this seemed a better material to use in this case. I still sealed the plate with spray varnish before printing, belt and braces perhaps, but you can never tell.

The grout was difficult to get level on the mountboard base, the edges were a little thinner than the central sections.

I drew in to the grout using a selection of tools used previously in Project One, Exercise One – mark making.

The plate was left to dry overnight and then a piece of copy paper pressed on to the surface. This highlighted any sections where there were sharp edges or points. These were then sanded down using sandpaper. After sanding the surface of the plate was sealed with spray varnish.

I first took a blind print of the plate using the roller press. This embossed the surface pattern on to a piece of damp paper. This is also a good way to find any sharp points on the plate that might pierce through the paper on a final print.

To ink the plate I used a toothbrush to apply block printing ink. I first printed the plate by hand and then through the roller press using dry paper. The press was set quite tightly so even the dry paper was forced in to the plates’ surface. The detail was good from the press prints but I wanted a little more texture to the prints.

I then printed the plate again using the press and damp paper. The paper used was 300gsm cartridge paper. This was soaked in a bath of cold water, making sure it was submerged beneath the surface, for ten minutes. The paper was then removed from the water, excess allowed to run off and stored between to layers of bath towels. This kept the paper damp before printing. The paper was used within one hour of preparation.

This gave a better print as the surface of the paper was more malleable and could be pushed in to the surface of the plate using the extra pressure in the roller press. In turn more texture could be picked up from the inked plate.

Overall I am pleased with the prints I have made for this exercise, especially the one with damp paper on the press. I would like to get a more level plate if I used this method again. Perhaps applying excess polyfilla or grout to the plate would be better and then leveling this off using some kind of tool would help.

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