MM Part Five – Stage Two – Visual Research

Visual/practical development

There is much work posted here that is both visual research and sample. They have been categorised as research for now but may also crop up in Stage Three – Samples later on.

Draw from theme/aesthetic

My favourite items produced in the module so far were the plaster of Paris ‘ice’ cubes. I chose to look at these more closely and produced the drawings below. I particularly like the images where the three-dimensional cube is flattened and the valleys in its surface depicted as lines.

Use ‘ice’ cubes to find colour palette

There were few coloured drawings in the work I had produced so far that could have been used to devise a colour palette. There were a few however that had been made in Part Two with diluted Quink ink.

I chose one of these images and used Adobe CC Color ( to obtain a series of possible ranges of colours that could be used for this work.  These are shown below.

A selection of these colours were used in the drawing work produced from the ice cubes.


Printing from non-standard surfaces such as air drying clay, ceramic, plaster, fabric etc.

Collagrapah printing requires only that the material or items used to print from have a surface that can hold ink.

After making the air-drying clay tiles earlier in the module I wondered if they could be printed from. While testing this I also used one of the cast plaster samples from part three.

Air drying clay comes under many brands I tested FIMO, DAS and Sculpy brands. FIMO and DAS were true air drying clays and needed at least 48hrs to harden completely. Sculpy was set by baking in a domestic oven.

All forms of clay held the ink well, but due to their uniform surface there was very little variation in to depth of tone produced on each print. DAS and FIMO clays accepted ink well and the block print ink used dried quickly on its surface. The Sculpy clay however produed some good prints but the ink has not dried on the surface, even several weeks later. This may be due to a higher oil content in this clay.

These clays were quite sticky when rolling them out on a work surface. It was very easy to stamp the surface with the ice cubes but it was then difficult to remove the sheet of clay from the table in one piece. Perhaps too delicate to make a plate from or would need more careful handling.

The plaster cast used was quite thin at the edge and some came away while printing. The thicker areas near the centre of the piece felt more sturdy so plaster might be a viable material to make a printing plate from, however it should only be printed by hand.

The plaster ‘ice’ cubes were quite tricky to print from. The block printing ink and then acrylic paint made the cube very slippery and difficult to move around the paper. Eventually I produced some interesting prints including a vaguely tessellating pattern. Perhaps this could be repeated on a larger scale.

Create ‘plates’ based on these drawings and contextual research

Contextual research illustrated that printing from fabric was not a common method. There are few artists that have produced small runs of prints but these were mostly on to paper for use in Artists Books. Collagraph printing on to fabric also seems to be very rare.

I plan to use the drawings produced above in the plates created in stage three samples.


Combining materials on collagraph plates

I began by collecting as many fabrics and materials as I could find with different surface properties. One reference suggested that printing from quilts was difficult due to the wadding and layers of fabric creating a surface that was too spongy to make a good print.

I set out to produce a series of plates that combined the fabrics I had found. These were stitched on to fabric backgrounds, some with wadding, some without, double layers of calico and some with only single fabric layer as a background.

I also produced a plate using machine stitched lines, a selection of other materials such as polyfilla, glitter and plastic net and added some hand stitching to some plates to see how these would print.

These were all sealed on to mountboard to give a surface with sufficient resistance to print against.

Each plate was printed on to dry and damp paper using hand pressure, a roller press and a foot press. The foot press was produced using two old cupboard shelves. the plate and paper were placed between the two shelves on the floor and then the shelves stood on. The pressure exerted by the weight of the person on the shelves made the print. This method might be a good way to print larger collagraph plates, as the press I have is only A4 in size.

Below are the plates made and some of the prints produced. Individual stitches have been captured on some of the prints, along with the weave of many of the fabrics used.

These prints have formed a good reference for the image that might be produced from different fabric samples.

Printing on to fabric – technical details but also different methods

As part of this work I looked at how to not only print on fabric but how to draw on to it too. It may prove useful in future samples to have a method to add less uniform lines to a surface, something that might be difficult to do with printing only.

This work was best investigated in a very practical way. Below are the pages from the book produced that contain the samples made.

I particularly liked the chine colle sample. I thought that this might be a bit tricky to achieve but it was much easier than I thought. This method did not translate exactly to the fabric sample but I feel that there is something that can be worked with here.

I also enjoyed the screen printing samples, the possibility of creating exactly the same motif over and over again may be useful in future samples.


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