Activity 2 – Collographs
Printmaking activity two Collographs
Printmaking can be a very costly medium to work with in schools due to extensive range of materials such as inks, cooper plates, rollers, papers etc need to create a print. But in this activity I am going to demonstrate and share ideas on how to cut down printmaking costs and still produce wonderful collograph prints.
What you will need:
· Card board which will form the basis for the collograph plates
· PVA glue
· Collage materials such as scrap paper, beads, foil, saw dust etc
· Shellac flakes and mentholated spirits
- Paper 200gsm cartridge paper
- Oil paints
- House brushes
- Vegetable oil
Collograph printmaking is one of the most enjoyable and inexpensive mediums to work with. Collograph printmaking is a very simple form of printmaking using found materials that are arranged in collage form. It is a great medium to work with, as it is an instant process that offers students great results.
Cardboard will form the basis for a collograph plate. Cardboard is lightweight and an inexpensive medium to use within schools. Old boxes, scraps of cardboard can be used as a collograph plate. I recommend going down to a local supermarket and asking them nicely if you can take some of their unwanted cardboard boxes. This can save you time and money. However if it is difficult for you to find old scraps of cardboard the other alternative is to purchase a bulk order of reinforced board from Zart Art although this is not the cheapest method.
PVA glue is an essential item for this task as it binds all the collage objects onto the cardboard plate. I recommend for schools to purchase a large bulk container of PVA glue around 5 kg. This way the teacher can fill up small containers and they can be distributed around the class when needed. Buying in bulk always saves money. Another alternative is to water down your PVA this way it will last longer.
Collage materials are the least expensive item for this task. Collage items can range from anything such as string, buttons, and scraps of paper, foil, saw dust etc. My recommendation is to ask students to find scraps lying around the home that they would like to use for their collograph plates. Furthermore a teacher can begin to collect old used scraps of paper; string etc in a tub and students can have access to these when they construct their collograph plates. The Op shop can be another alternative to find interesting cheap collage items.
Shellac is used as a sealant layer to protect collage materials when printing. I recommend for teachers to purchase a container of shellac flakes and a bottle of mentholated spirits from a hardware store. This is a much cheaper alternative than buying pre mixed shellac from an art store. This way you can mix up your own shellac, as the students require it.
Instead of using expensive printmaking papers, which can cost up to $8 - 10 a sheet, I recommend using 200gsm cartridge paper. It is essential to purchase thicker cartridge paper, as it helps soak up the oil paints better. Make sure to purchase cartridge paper in bulk as this helps reduce costs. Also look out for art stores mid and end of year paper sales you can save between 30 - 40% off paper at these sales.
Oil paints are used instead of traditional printmaking inks when printing collographs. Although oil paints can be pricey for this task we will not need to spend an extensive amount of dollars to achieve excellent results. I recommend travelling to a two-dollar shop and purchasing your oil paints from there. Although the pigments might not be as good of quality they are best suited for collograph printing. While you are there it is also useful to purchase a variety of house brushes, as these are ideal to applying the oil paint to your collograph plates. They range from $3 – 5 for a brush.
Vegetable oil is a great alternative than using turpentine or other expensive oil paint thinners. It is cheap and non-toxic, which is ideal when working with students in minimum, ventilated area. Vegetable oil helps clean the inks up and can be used as a thinner also.
These are just a few cost effective ways of how to handle manage your art budget whilst teaching the students collographs. Feel free to add comments or more suggestions!