Origins of collagraph printing
There is no exact date for the beginnings of collagraph printing. It evolved alongside other intaglio and relief printing, particularly with the move towards abstraction, introduction of ‘found’ materials and use of collage and mixed media in 1950s and 1960s. It was also helped by the widespread availability of new, cheap materials like acrylics and very strong adhesives.
Pierre Roche – sculptor developed gypsographic printing using bas-relief plaster engraving – inked in relief and printed by hand onto dampened paper, leaving a slightly raised blind embossing. Later he added layers of an adhesive called gypsum onto metal plate for an embossed effect.
Bauhaus: Klee, Picasso, Braque, Schwitters and Moholy-Nagy used collage materials and this was adopted by printmakers.
Rolf Nesch: one of the first artists to have consciously used collage to create collagraph printing plates. He gave depth and texture to prints by soldering out metal shapes and wire to metal printing plates. He then took this further by drilling holes in plates and sewing to the base plate. The prints were so deep he hneeded 8 blankets to get the right pressure and very heavy strong paper.
William Hayter developed viscosity printing – a technique that allowed a single printing plate to be printed in many colours. The basic principle is that the viscosity or stickiness of an ink can be reduced by adding linseed oil. A stiff viscous ink will absorb and mix with an oily ink laid over the top. But if an ink full of oil is placed on the plate first, it will reject a dry viscous ink and will not mix with it.
Richard Hamilton mixed painting with forms of printmaking, such as collotype, lithograph and silkscreen.
Joan Miro created numerous collagraphs combining carborundum, aquatint and etching.
Henry Moore used collograph and resist techniques in versions of his drawings
Brenda Hartill has been very influential in UK, building on Hayter’s techniques of viscosity printing.
See Logbook 4 pp 6-7 for discussion of some of her collagraph prints.
Hughie O-Donoghue produces large abstract figures using acrylic and carborundum
See Logbook 4 pp10-11 for discussion of some of his prints and paintings.
Other collagraph artists:
Katie Jones Logbook 4 Collagraph p8
Helga Thomson Logbook 4 Collagraph p8
Mari French Logbook 4 Collagraph p9
Tessa Horrocks Logbook 4 Collagraph p9
Kim Major George Logbook 4 Collagraph p12
Jet James Logbook 4 Collagraph p12
Laurie Rudlin Logbook 4 Collagraph p12
Marlene Groinic Logbook 4 Collagraph p14-15
Diane Bamford Logbook 4 Collagraph p15