I didn't print my first collagraph but rather buffed its aluminium coating with boot polish and left it at that! It must have been OK because it hung on the wall of our lounge wall for many years. That was when I was about 14 - probably before the term collagraph was even coined!
Making Parched (30x19cm) some fifty years later turned out to be a real blast from the past. This time around, though, I used ink and actually printed it! I used breakfast cereals to create the foregrounds textures and sandpaper to create the darker background strip. I glued aluminium foil over them and 'encouraged' the formation of creases in the upper section.
Having enjoyed the collagraph-making process and impressed with the depths of tone and interesting marks possible, I was keen to do more. I scavenged for new found objects with which to make interesting textures and also bought some from my local art store. I also experimented by adding some carborundum to getting even darker tones.
Into Infinity, collagraph, 25cm x 19cm, Hahnemuhle paper
Much of the line work in this collagraph comes from the edges of the wide strips of aluminium foil I used to cover the plate. On the positive side, they trap the ink and add interest to the composition. The down side is that they can quickly become tatty and produce blotches.
Irish Lineout, collagraph, 25cm x 19cm, Hahnemuhle paper
I produced the collagraphs below by inking up pieces of recycled plastic bag and wiping them with an old credit card over pieces of heavily embossed wallpaper samples - a bit like the old bark rubbing technique.
I recently discovered an old artwork my daughter, Ashlea, made years ago and that was done in the same style I had made my first potential collagraph plate some 50 years previously. She hadn't thought to print hers either and so, as if to complete a rather ironic circle, I got her permission to try printing it. And that's how Meanderings (40x27cm) came to be.