MM Part Five – Stage Six – Prototype

In this stage of work I have tried to bring together the collagraph printing method I have refined for fabric printing along with producing a greater amount of smaller items in the style of many modern installations.

Colour selections were taken from the earlier work done in Adobe CC from a drawing made earlier in the course.

I found these colours a little too light so have darkened them slightly. Actual paint used in final picture above, excluding gold.

Collagraph plates

I had already produced a number of collagraph plates from the drawings made from the plaster ice cubes. These had printed well in my test samples so for this final work I combined these plates to produce more complex prints.

Four extra plates were produced using hand stitching. It was possible to print the individual thread of the fabric samples so I wanted to continue testing the printing method on hand stitched sample plates.


Fabric printing

So far I had only printed up to A4 in size. For these pieces I chose to print on to fabric that was greater than A3 in size. This is a small step up but is a giant leap for my work as I find even A4 quite hard to get to grips with when drawing or printing.

I had used a board covered in fabric to print my previous work but this was not large enough to print these fabric pieces. Instead I covered my table with towels and covered these with a plastic sheet. To prevent the sheet and towels from moving they were taped to the underside of the table. This surface gave the spring required for the fabric to sink slightly into the printing surface to give a good print.

The fabric used was made damp before being printed on. This was achieved by spraying the surface with cold water from a plant spray bottle. Enough water was added to the surface to make the fabric surface appear darker. This was left to settle in to the fabric for five minutes so that no standing water was on the fabric surface. The fabric did not need to be wet, just damp, so leaving the water to absorb gave the most receptive surface for printing on to, it also prevented too much water being present on the fabric surface and the printed image running.


Overprint two/three plates

I had only printed each collagraph plate individually in my sample work, except for the final fabric piece in my notebook. The test prints made were to trial the surfaces that were being printed from, whether the details of the fabric scraps on the collagraph plates could be transferred to the printed fabric surface or if an individual stitch could hold enough paint to make an identifiable mark on the finished print.

As these tests had gone well I chose to make the final piece in my notebook by printing two plates, one over the other. This gave a much more interesting finished print as there were more things to look at without the print feeling too busy. I have extended this idea by printing several larger fabric samples using two different collagraph plates over each other.

Stamps and gutta resist drawn directly on to fabric were also used to produce fabric samples.


The above printing methods may well have been enough to satisfy the requirements for this part of the course but I chose to use the printed fabric made to make some stuffed fabric cubes, representative of the plaster ice cubes made previously. The plaster cubes, when made out of plaster of Paris had a very soft quality, so I didn’t think it was too big a leap to make a fabric equivalent.

For these fabric cubes I had envisaged that they would be larger than the original plaster cubes but that they could be viewed together and not as individual items. In part five I had suggested that 20 cubes  could be made at around 4 ½ inches.  This was not a set figure and the fabric produced would influence the final size and number of cubes produced for the finished piece.


Fabric samples produced

Twelve fabric pieces were printed using a combination of collagraph plates, stamps and gutta. Six pieces were printed on white and six on coloured fabric.

Acrylic paint and textile medium mixed (1:1) was used throughout. Paint was applied to the plates and stamps using a sponge roller.


Blue polycotton, pearl white and buff acrylic paint.

Hand stitched plate printed in rows across the fabric, pizza base added but offset, this allowed some of the first print to remain visible.

A safe start. The second and third prints of the hand stitched plate gave good muted images and the pearlescent paint added some interest to the white printed layer.


Blue polycotton, pearl white acrylic paint.

Printing from air-drying clay was one of the ideas I’d had earlier in the course after making small textured tiles in part three. The tile above was made by rolling a plaster ice-cube along its surface. This printed well on to fabric. Once the clay had dried it was not so stiff that it would break if pressure was put on it which made it ideal for using under the rolling pin in this method.

Tile adhesive was used to produce the other plate. It was drawn in to once it had partially dried. This material gave a very even toned print and the plate was very robust so could be used repeatedly without deteriorating.


Gold satin, buff acrylic paint.

Gold, shiny satin was a huge departure for me. I have kept to very plain fabric and mostly blue, black and white in almost every other part of this course. I was really surprised how well this fabric received the paint and how much detail was transferred to the fabric from the fabric plate. This plate had been one of the worst on to paper in part three and had given a very bad print on to fabric as the test piece had been far too wet, so to get this print here was very pleasing.

It is very difficult to photograph satin, I have now found. The detail photograph shows how well the print has taken to the satin but what can’t be seen is the damask like quality that the shiny surface and the matt paint together has achieved.

My plan for this work  was to overprint different plate but for this sample I didn’t feel that anything else could be added to this print by any other plate.

The plate was not made to tessellate and so it doesn’t fit exactly together but the surface print is busy enough that any slight overlaps are lost in the finished image.




Gold satin and winsor blue and buff acrylic paint.

After the revelation of printing on to satin above I used a second piece with this much larger image. Again, much of my previous work has been made up of very small images so this again is something a bit different for me.

The DAS air-drying clay was used as a first layer on this print. This again gave a damask like effect that was then visible through the unprinted areas of the larger image above. This print was already quite bold but by using the blue acrylic paint it becomes even more impressive.

The gold of the fabric has made the final print a little more green than blue which shows how this sort of colour mixing should be considered when using coloured fabrics as a base.

Covering the surface of the fabric with this bold image has resulted in a very busy print. Spaces could have been left between each print but I think that this would have detracted from the impact of each image being pressed up against the next.



Light brown polycotton, powder blue and yellow ochre acrylic paint

The hand stitched, seed stitch, plate was used on this brown fabric first. Powder blue acrylic was used for that print but dried much lighter than it had appeared when wet so is not immediately visible underneath the yellow overprint.

This overall combination is very light and doesn’t view well from far away.

Previous prints have become more than the sum of their individual parts but in this print both images seem to have been lost on the fabric surface.



Light brown polycotton, winsor blue and yellow ochre acrylic paint

As the plate made of fabric shapes had worked so well on the satin print I thought I’d try them again on the polycotton fabric. Again, they proved to work well, but this time the overprinted image from the pizza base was lost. I only stamped this on to the surface once as it was immediately obvious that the yellow ochre paint was not enough to overpower the blue used for the first print.

Overlapping the plate has worked well again with the edges of each print lost in the final image.


Plaster ice cubes

Printing from the plaster ice cubes had given promising results in stage three. I then extended that work in the following pieces.


White cotton fabric, winsor blue acrylic paint.


White cotton fabric, winsor blue and powder blue acrylic paint.


White cotton fabric, powder blue acrylic paint

All three of the above prints, seven, eight and nine, were produced using the plaster ice cubes produced in part three of this module.

Each cube was painted once with the acrylic paint and textile medium mixture and then either laid on to the fabric surface and the fabric drawn up around the cube (seven and eight) or rolled across the surface to give a group of four prints (nine), before being repainted and each method repeated.

Printing from the cubes was very tricky as they became very slippery once the paint had been applied to their surface but I am very pleased with the results I have produced.

These prints could only be made from the shape of the plaster cubes. They had flat and sharp corners, flat and rounded surfaces, rough and smooth areas and lines almost carved in to their surface. I could not have come up with the shapes produced in any other way than by printing these cubes directly.

I like the similar, yet random, shapes produced from each print of each cube but especially the areas where the groups of lines present on the surface of the cubes have left an unpainted area on the fabric surface.

I think these prints are the culmination of the work for this assignment as they have taken an item produced in part three, combined it with printing methods from part four and those methods have been extended here in part five.


Extra collagraph plates

Four extra collagraph plates were produced using hand stitched motifs from earlier in part five.


White cotton fabric, powder blue and winsor blue acrylic paint.

Each of the four plates was stitched by hand on to calico. The stitched samples were then placed on mountboard and sealed with dilute PVA glue.

These plates were produced using one, two or three threads stitched together to form the image or using wool couched to the calico.

All gave reasonable images when printed but individual stitches of each of the plates was visible in the final prints.

This was another test piece to establish if single stitches could be picked out from a hand stitched motif and from these prints is appear that they can be.

The positioning of the printed images is not very imaginative here. It shows the images clearly but is quite dull and regimented.



Funky foam has been used to produce these stamps. I think this is meant to be a childs craft material but it is really good for producing stamps as the soft surface takes paint well and gives a uniform finish to the final images.

The foam is easy to draw on to and cut out and can easily produce positive and negative images when some care is take over cutting out the foam.


White cotton fabric, powder blue, winsor blue, buff and pearl white acrylic paint.

I tried to apply these stamps in a random fashion but from viewing the whole fabric surface it is not as random as I had thought. The stamps have given very clear images as I had hoped.



The gutta used in the test sample was quite old and had a very sticky consistency. A new, unopened, tube of gutta was much easier to handle and apply to the fabric. The gutta still took some time to dry though, over eight hours, so this is not a technique that can be completed quickly.


White cotton fabric, powder blue, yellow ochre, pearl white and buff acrylic paint.

The acrylic paint was applied over the entire surface of the fabric once the gutta had dried. The paint was slightly diluted but did not water-log the fabric. Again a random application of paint was, I had thought, achieved but looking at the whole fabric surface that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The gutta was easy to wash out with cold water and some liquid fabric soap, but some of the paint was lost during the rinsing process. The pearl white paint became puffy and slimy and was rinsed away. This has left some areas of white fabric exposed, adding to the piece in my opinion, but the remaining paint has flattened out on a second drying and ironing .

Fabric cubes

Both the cubes cast in conventional plaster and plaster of Paris retained more detail that I had expected but also looked very soft.

By making a large amount of fabric cubes I was hoping to replicate the picture on the right above. The fabric cubes would be soft but with the right amount of stuffing would be able to hold their shape and form a pile or mass as above.

I have made fabric cubes from the fabric printed earlier in this section of work. Each cube is 6″ by 6.5″, this is in the same ratio as the plaster ice cubes.

I have taken a few photos of the original cubes to indicate the confirmation  I was trying to obtain with the fabric equivalents. There is good similarity with how the plaster and fabric cubes have been arranged and fit together. The fabric cubes however are easier to pile so they have formed a much higher final arrangement.

With both the plaster and fabric cubes I think that making many more of them would give the installation I have been imagining for this work. There is not time or remaining fabric left to make the number of cubes I would like, also there would be nowhere to store these cubes.

I am pleased with what I have produced and think that the use of a limited number of coloured fabrics and acrylic paints brings the collection of cubes together well.

Below is a pdf document detailing each side of the cubes made. This shows the sections of fabric that were used for each cube.

MM Part Five Fabric Cubes JT


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