Kozo Tea Iron

This latest experiment was about getting a contact print through an immersion in a cold dye, in this case tea. I used two strips of dry folded kozo paper that I had previously drawn on with sumi ink;  one piece was held together with a metal bull dog clip.  A stack of dry printmaking paper was interlaid with leaves and seeds,  then sandwiched between two sheets of perspex and clipped together with paper clips.  All three packages were immersed in the tea dye container for a few hours.  The darker dye (caused by the metal clip in the tea) remained in situ around the bundle while the liquid was motionless.  As I removed the papers I could see the reaction of the iron on the tea slowly take place over the rest of the dye and turn it completely black.

The kozo paper was squeezed in the hand when taken out of the tea dye to get the lovely ’embossing’ (the photo does not really do it justice).  I am very pleased with the abstract nature of the results, even though the plant material left little in the way of images on the printmaking paper, but there are some impressions – a trace of the leaves on some sheets.  There are also a few traces of other colours from the plant material.  Some of the seeds left a darker spot on the paper.

There is a tension here (freedom and control) between allowing enough moisture into the stack and the pressure required to achieve images of the plant material.  Perhaps the paper in the stack should have been damp which might have allowed more wicking of the dye.  Needs more investigation.

Some of the tonal variation occurred as the printmaking paper was removed from the stack.  I tried to restrict disturbing the remaining dye but some of this did happen of course!  The printmaking paper has much value as a base layer for further work.

 

Kozo-and-print-paper

January 2015 printing – Seeds and Seed Pods

Seeds and seed pods are really quite beautiful, make good subjects for art and design.  This is a collagraph plate that I made ‘last year!’ in December from dried seed pods of the Honesty plant (Lunaria annua, aka Money Plant) and one of the plant’s leaves.  I had kept the dried specimen from 2012, so it has lasted well.  I glued the dried plant material onto a piece of mat board and coated front and back of the board in two layers of polyurethane varnish –  but it still had a little warp.  This did not make any difference when the plate was printed.  (Or so it seemed to me…)  A small piece of the leaf had already broken away in the past, but apart from an interesting phenomenon that appeared when I inked the plate (the layers of varnish came away from three of the seed pods) the plate has held up well through its various inkings and cleanings.  The photo here is what it looks like, cleaned, after an afternoon’s printing with Akua water based ink.

 

Cineraria-plate

 

This is a ghost print (i.e. second print from an inked plate) from one of the initial printings.

 

HonestyP3

 

The next two images are of a print made by inking up a piece of plastic, sending the plate and the plastic through the press, and then taking a print off the plate.  The plastic creates an interesting background with plenty of unexpected results which is one of the reasons I enjoy printing.

 

HonestyP2

 

Finally, here is a the result of selectively cleaning the inked plate, so that only the raised parts of the collagraph will print.  Still have a lot to learn!  At least I now know that placing the paper on top of the plate creates an embossed image.  The digital ink jet paper is dry and probably causes the creasing.  I really enjoy using Akua ink as it is easier to clean up and I do not like using turps!  The ‘black’ ink (actually a combination of colours, more a dark grey) creates an image that almost could be a photocopy.

 

Honesty-P1

 

I have been collecting Rocket (Eruca sativa) seeds from the veggie bed.  Really quite fascinating, and I notice that the membrane between the two halves of the seed pod is similar to that found in dried Honesty plants.  I would like to find Lunaria rediviva a perennial ‘cousin’ of Honesty which has yet another variation on this form with more elongated pods.  [Just found out that they are all members of the Mustard family (Brassicaceae)!]

 

Rocket-seed-pod narrow

Rocket-seed-pods

Finally, poppy seed pods from the garden.

Poppy-seed-pods