First Collagraph at Ålgården

It’s been a good couple of days in the studio here at Ålgården. Yesterday I printed my test plates. I’m not mightily impressed with acrylic gloss varnish and will be sticking to button polish although some of the problems could have been due to too much pressure on the electric press. It is quite hard to tell if you have it right due to the fact that you don’t wind the bed through by hand so can’t feel when the plate is going under the rollers. Anyway, the tests proved that acrylic heavy modelling medium is best for holding texture. The car filler was great too but I am reluctant to use that due to the chemicals in it and it smells awful. It would feel wrong making a print of a beautiful forest using toxic materials! I then made a small printing plate based on one of my drawings of the birch forest. I used gesso, heavy modelling paste, pva and cutting. One of the artists, Björn Eriksson, gave me some shellac to seal the plate with and I applied two coats to it. I then spent the rest of the afternoon doing small watercolours of individual birch leaves in my sketchbook. I love the patterns that appear on them as they decay.

This morning I inked and wiped the collagraph plate and proofed it. The first print was too dark but gave me a good guide for subsequent prints. Here is the plate inked and partially wiped:

This is the monochrome version using sepia ink.

I then printed a version using yellow and black ink.

It will need a bit of tweeking and I’ve spotted an area that I have forgotten to finish cutting but I’m happy with it as a starting point.

I then spent the afternoon at the Abecita Konst Museum http://www.abecitakonst.se/. It is a fabulous gallery set on three floors of the Abecita corset factory! It houses a collection of photographs and contemporary prints as well as a small exhibition on Abecita corsets and the Nordic Textile Award exhibition. I particularly liked ‘Silent Landscape’ the exhibition of photographs by Jan Töve. There were some great prints too (including by David Hockney, Robert Rauschenburg, Julian Opie, Andy Warhol, Louise Borgeois & Richard Hamilton) and it was lovely to see a very large collagraph by Jim Dine, ‘Red Robe’. Entry to the museum entitles you to free coffee and they have very inexpensive cakes, it would have been rude not to partake!

Yesterday evening I discovered a great new forest trail on my run. You have to climb a steep hill on a tiny path and then you can follow a pine needle strewn track along the ridge. I decided to head back up there this evening and took my camera. I quite like this birch trunk catching the evening sun.

The highlight of the run was a fleeting glimpse of a roe deer as it leapt across the path in front of me. I spent some time collecting birch leaves and did a few monotypes using them in the studio this evening. I definitely feel like I am making the most of my time here!

2 thoughts on “First Collagraph at Ålgården

  1. I’m fascinated by the detail of constructing the collagraph plate and enjoyed the chance to look at the textures in close up. Montypes from the birch leaves makes me wonder whether the seasons are parallel to the UK. Is it winding down from summer to autumn like it is here? I assume it’s at the same stage but our leaves here are still fresh and green and showing no signs of change.You’ve been there such a short time Hester, yet you are energised by so much already. Really enjoying reading this blog and seeing what is inspiring you.

  2. Thank you for your thoughts Lesley. It does feel like a very rich time for me. The seasons are pretty similar although I think Sweden is just a couple weeks ahead. The birches are turning yellow and dropping their leaves and some of the other trees are beginning to turn too. I’ve spent the day travelling around with an artist friend and it has been really good to see more of the surrounding area and meet some very interesting people.

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