MM Part Five – Stage Three – Sample Making

Collagraph on to fabric

From the research made in Stage Two I have chosen to look more at printing collagraph plates and from my plaster ice cubes on to fabric. I have had good success printing on to paper using a press but that might not be the correct method for printing on to fabric from these surfaces.

Further plates were constructed from tile adhesive, this is waterproof once dry so no need to seal plate once the adhesive has cured, and also from fabric and stitched samples. The artwork used to inspire these plates is also included below.

These didn’t work so well on my first trial prints. Detail was captured from the plates on both fabric and paper but the prints weren’t as crisp as I would have liked. I reviewed the previous work I had produced using paper and a press and re-evaluated the method I had been using for these fabric prints.

Almost without exception the paper prints showed more details when the paper used was damp and had been printed using the press. I didn’t want to use the press as this would limit the size of print I could ultimately produce so I would need to find a different method to apply pressure to the plates to print on fabric.

I produced a second set of samples using damp fabric and used a rolling pin to apply pressure to the plate surface. These produced much more detailed and coloured prints.

Using damp fabric felt a little odd but it did allow the paint used to transfer to the fabric much better. Too much water on the fabric though and the colours started to run. The rolling pin was an easy solution to adding pressure to the plate when printing but needs to be monitored when in use as too much pressure can make the plate and fabric ‘jump’ from the printing surface.

Also adding more ink helped to improve these prints. Rather than using a hard roller a sponge roller was used to apply paint to the second set of samples.

In the samples below the first set of samples have been printed in a very dark blue, the second in indigo blue.  More detail is seen in the second set of samples.


A fabric covered board was used under the plate to provide resistance against the plate when printing.

Samples were also produced using fabric instead of tissue for a chine colle effect. These were stuck to the fabric using pritt stick but were stitched to the finished sample once the glue had dried.

Also a sample where two plates are overprinted was produced. I think that this combination of prints will be useful for future work.



Printing from plaster ice cubes

A brief trial in part two involved folding paper and fabric around a plaster ice cube once it had been covered in acrylic paint. This left an interesting shape printed on the fabric as the 3D shape of the cube was transferred to the flat surface of the paper or fabric.

I chose to repeat the print from the cube across a larger piece of fabric. This was a little difficult as the cube had to be repainted before each print but also as the action of squeezing the fabric around the cube pushed the paint through to the reverse of the fabric. To prevent the paint transferring across the surface of the fabric a square of paper was placed underneath the fabric before it was formed around the cube.

A second print was taken from the cubes surface. This time the cube was painted and then rolled across the surface of a larger piece of fabric. A fabric covered board was placed under the fabric to allow the printing surface to form slightly around the cube. This was difficult to control as the cube became very slippery when painted. Groups of four shapes were printed before repainting the cube.


Other methods of adding pattern to fabric


Funky foam was used to create a series of stamps based on some of the drawings produced previously. The foam gives a very uniform surface to print from and is easy to draw on to and cut out. The shapes were stuck to a mountboard backing using double-sided tape. The unused sections of the double-sided tape, not covered with funky foam, were made less sticky by adding talc.

Nozzle bottle

A small bottle with a nozzle was used to draw directly on to fabric. Acrylic paint and textile medium was diluted to a milk-like consistency. This was an effective method to draw on to fabric but does need some care as occasionally small clumps of paint can clog the bottle if the nozzle is very thin, also if the bottle is pressed too hard too much paint is released on to the fabric.


I have used wax resists in my drawing work and wanted a relatively simple way to reproduce that effect on fabric.

I could have used batik but the wax in that method is difficult to remove. I chose instead to use water-based gutta. This is usually added to fabric from the nozzle bottle but I chose to squeeze the contents of the bottle out and paint it on to the fabric using a brush. This resulted in some areas that were not completely covered but has overall given a good resist to the dilute paint applied to the fabric.

For the final section of this part of the course a prototype or maquette is to be made. I still have no clear idea of what this might be but from my research I chose to focus on installations where many small items were produced and presented together.

From this research I have produced the following trial items which could be extended further later in the module.


Make paper cubes – folded card

I hoped that I could fold card to make a shape similar to the plaster ice cubes. Seems my origami skills aren’t advanced enough for that. This really didn’t take off at all so I have not continued any further with this idea.

Make fabric cubes

The plaster of Paris ice cubes produced in Part Three of the course were obviously hard due to the material used to cast them but when looking at the cubes they have a very soft quality, looking like little pillows.

I have produced a few fabric cubes in different sizes, stuffed with toy filling, to try and replicate the plaster cubes. Under-stuffing the cubes gave a similar appearance to the plaster casted cubes.

I tried to add a few lines to the fabric cubes but these looked a bit too obvious and a little messy.

Mirror box

An interesting way to make a few items look like many more. The box has been constructed using mirror tiles and duck tape and was then filled with plaster of paris cubes. The reflection of the cubes in the mirrored surfaces gave the impression of multiple cubes being present.

This was very difficult to photograph due to the shiny surfaces.


Photocopies of previous prints were used to prepare these hexagram pictures. Each print was cut into smaller pieces and then coloured and drawn into.

This felt like producing a paper patchwork. Would be a good way to use up less successful prints or combining stamps and prints.

Throughout this work acrylic paint and textile medium has been used.


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