Chine colle (continued)

Unfortunately I had a period of illness where I was not able to do anything physical, so the practical work had to take a bit of a back burner. At this time I decided to look closer at the elements of design, particularly the use of colour.

I had downloaded a phone app “Palette” which helped me analyse other artists’ colour palettes. This was a useful exercise in that I realised my preferences are towards colour harmony and a use of a limited / monochromatic range. This programme provides me with a very quick way of analysing colour, allowing me to use a range of subjects as inspiration- images from nature as well as other artists’ work. This will help me have a more considered approach to using colour in the future.

I wanted to keep going with my little girl print because I felt I hadn’t realised its potential. As a nod to Dada I decided to incorporate photographic images into the piece. By flipping the photo I was able to produce a design which suggested absence and referenced the contemporary artists I had previously researched.

To create the chine colle I printed onto Japanese tissue paper in the digital printer by wrapping the tissue over a sheet of A4 copier paper and attaching with double sided tape. As the ink is not pigmented I am aware this will fade in time, but that fits the theme anyway. I knew that the ink would run if I added water, so I used the dry chine colle method and prepped the paper beforehand, with the belief that the glue-backed paper would stick to the damp paper when printing.

When feeling a little better I was able to print. Unfortunately the paper did not stick to the paper when hand burnishing- there was not enough pressure or dampness to the paper, so had to resort to spritzing the tissue with water then moving it onto the lino. There were many failed attempts but I eventually got one print to work.

As a reference to Emily Dickenson’s poem “Pain has an element of blank” (Dickenson, 1924a) I incorporated a subtle monoprint with these words obliquely written in. These words do not read correctly, and just offer a little bit of visual texture. I had run out of tissue chine colle pieces however so couldn’t do anymore and needed to progress with the course. This was the best version produced.

After looking into research around chine colle and collage, I wanted to develop the print further by adding head shaped tissue, referencing Agar’s silhouette collages and Sheridan’s chine colle prints, in which different shapes added completely different effects to her prints.

In my assignment 3 feedback, my tutor recommended I experiment with overheating the lino to create crumbling marks, which I chose to employ here. Incorporating different shapes of chine colle tissue created a new dimension. This was a useful exercise.

I decided to apply a head shape to the girl print. This added intensity and drama. My thoughts turned to ideas around memory and layering. I started to realise a lot of my work is related to this subject matter- being haunted by memories.

Initially I was playing with ideas in my sketchbook. I had a design which incorporated pressed flowers. Unfortunately this idea did not work in practice. I think to do this I would have needed access to a press, because the petals split up when burnished and didn’t stick effectively.

I wanted to retain the head idea and played with a variety of colour options. I was drawn to the blue cooler palette, referencing Kate Donachie. I felt her painting had a soft, ethereal feel.

I had been reading about war ephemera and contemporary artists whose work connects. In her Imperial War Museum cynotypes, Annabel Dover uses pieces of clothing that have personal associations to her grandparents and their links to WW2. Through the technique she has presented the memory of objects.

I was inspired by this and considered my gelatin plate- when objects are placed on the surface they leave an impression- the memory is stored and then transferred onto the paper. My tutor had recommended I revisit feathers after her feedback in assignment 4 and this was an opportunity to do that. I also played around with text on a lino block and pressed this into the plate. These created some interesting textures that I could use as my chine colle.

After a lot of trial and error and managed to produce a couple of reasonable prints. I find it difficult to get a perfect print without a press because the damp paper wrinkled a little when burnishing.

Processed with Snapseed.

I did consider taking further and adding backdrawing after Giacometti’s portraits but decided not to in the end.

Technically I struggled with this part of the course, I know my prints are not perfect but I feel the ideas are stronger conceptually and I am beginning to understand what direction I want to take my work in.

Project 14: Design Ideas & initial chine colle experiments

I chose to carry on with the design of the little girl which I had considered in project 13. After producing a proof study linocut I photographed the image and then played with various ideas using apps on my iPhone. I have recently upgraded my phone meaning I now have larger storage facility, so this has been a useful tool. The good thing about using this software is the speed and ease of putting layers together- which replicates the printmaking process.
In relation to the ephemeral theme I considered using lined paper; paper from a music catalogue, and sweet wrappers.

I also did some research into collage artists and printmakers who have included chine colle in their works here which was very useful. I will continue referring back to the relevant artists as I create the prints.

Also the inclusion of literature seems to be of importance. I have been looking at the poetry of Emily Dickenson who wrote quite candidly about her own emotional landscape within her work. I feel a connection to her writing, a feeling that I am trying to express similar sentiments through the visual arts.

On a practical level I had a play with different ways of applying glue as seen in my workbook below. I can see that chine colle will be a tricky process without the use of a press- I can’t burnish the paper too fiercely as it creates holes in the wet paper and also crinkles. I also have found tissue paper to be very difficult to handle as it disintegrated very quickly with the wet paste.

Initial attempts were problematic. I discovered a method of using methyl cellulose and covering a plastic sheet with the paste, allowing that to dry then another layer of paste with the chine colle material placed on top. Once dry this gave the tissue a glue side similar to a postage stamp. To glue, I placed on the plate and spritzed with water. I found that it was easier to use a flat sheet of Perspex to do the gluing before printing as the indentations of the lino block caused issues.

To use sweet wrappers I collages them in place first then chine colle a sheet of tissue and printed over the top.  This worked quite well but I managed to burnish a hole in the wet paper.

For the digital tissue, I attached tissue to a sheet of copier paper and printed in my normal printer. I played with hand drawn elements over the top to reference Victorian prints- I found it a bit too illustrative and not what I am trying to portray.
My final print for the day was over a sheet of paper from a book- which I chine colled in place and printed over. I was pleased with this final version, it fits with the ephemeral theme and the words underneath- sings by Eva Cassidy seem relevant and poignant.

Next steps I plan to revisit this linocut as a series but take it further- using different colours, transparent layers and different shaped chine colle.