Since the last three months, an entire nation has been stuck indoors owing to the extent of this pandemic. So many people have found themselves in the position of not having to get up early for work but that toxifying feeling of having little to do and nowhere to go.
It’s no surprise then to find a huge increase in online art material sales across the UK and evidence of creative endeavors across social media platforms like Instagram. This is where, in fact, I came across the Collographs of artist William West Seegmiller. Seeing the variety of prints and the comfort it brought in watching the process, collography is a fantastic printing process to learn whilst in your home bound quarantine.
Here are four reasons why anyone should take up Collography during lockdown.
Principally the process is about scarring the surface with a blade on cardboard picture mounts. The material inside the board is soft compressed material and acts like a key surface i.e. its crevices hold a lot more ink to that of a flat shiny surface. This contrast is what makes the image making process possible.
Whilst these mount boards can be bought, it is better to go looking for off cuts in Framers. They will undoubtedly give you these for free.
OK, principally its cheap to make incisions into found bits of cardboard but in the inking stage ( you will find it’s a game of 2 halves, where after you have made an image you will eventually want to print ink from it) you will need to make a small investment into inks and varnish. Thankfully most art stores supply everything you need so one online shop can cover all the materials you need. Intaglio Print in London is a perfect online store.
A 3 pot range of 250 ml oil based inks, a pad of cotton paper, a roller, a 500 ml bottle of shellac varnish and a wooden spoon should all come to the price of £30. Running the print through a press is infinitely more satisfying and yields better results but for the time being, smoothing the back end of a wooden spoon will suffice.
3. Huge scope for material experiment
You will soon discover after your first trails of prints, that each plate (the cardboard you are working you image onto) can easily be reworked. Rather than simply extracting material form the cardboard, it’s possible the cut and paste pieces of sandpaper, sellotape, fabric or anything that has an interesting texture into the design you are trying to achieve. As long as the surface is sealed with additional shellac, your plate can take on anything for a print.
4. Suitable for professional and ammeter artists
Collography allows a quick succession of prints after completing the image/collage on your plate. This allows for a great way of building up a portfolio of prints. As a traditional analogue form of printing, its unusual in the ubiquity of digital media and its great creative endeavor as a craft for amateurs and visual documentation from professional artists alike.