Friday, 20 March 2015

Monoprints, Collage & Happy Accidents

My noticeboard above my printmaking station of works in progress.

After all the fun of experimenting with collographs I've taken a change of direction for a while as I work towards a group exhibition with CPCANZ (Central Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand). The theme of the exhibition is "light and dark" and so I wanted to explore ways of capturing the light from under the water as seen when swimming in rockpools (something I did a bit of over summer.) I haven't ever done much monoprinting and so I wanted to have a good old "play" using various techniques to see what effects I came up with. 

I have been using Charbonnel Aquawash, hand cut paper stencils and sheets of ohp acetate. 

The prints for the exhibition are 20cm x 20cm, printed to the edge of the paper and hung unframed on clips. I found that I worked on 6 or more prints at a time building up multiple layers of colours and stencils. With monoprinting like this I think you have to always be ready to accept "happy accidents" as and when they happen and use them to guide you in new directions. 

At this point I now have a series of 9 "submerged" prints which I would like to exhibit as a group at some point. (I can only put 2 in the print council exhibition so I need to select which two I will show this time.)

"Submerged" 1 of series of 9.
Monoprint by Toni Hartill
As I have worked on these prints new ideas have come up and so I am now exploring ways of incorporating other elements into the prints including wood block prints, collage, collograph, etc.

I have been dyeing sheets of plain tissue with coffee, tea and colour washes of acrylic paints, and over-printing with woodblock prints and collograph materials.

Cornflour paste, coffee and tea
with cotton thread being dyed for stitching.
Dyed and printed tissue to use for collage.

Next, I have been seeing where my ideas take me as I begin to assemble works using monoprints as a base then adding collage, stitching, paper cutouts, relief prints and found papers. I've also played with making a "matrix" from dyed tissue, sandwiching other papers amongst the layers to see if it is something I could then print on. I seem to have an aversion to being restrained within a rectangular frame so I have been layering the tissue and hand made papers on both the front and back of the prints so that they seem to be growing in all directions and becoming quite lovely "artifacts."

More monoprints being transformed with layering, collage and stitching.
by Toni Hartill

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