Exploring the printmaking technique of the collagraph, four established printmakers come together highlighting the versatility of this printmaking process. Estella Scholes, Clare Maria Wood, Suzie MacKenzie and Hester Cox create different textures on the plate which hold varying amounts of ink and therefore print different tones revealing some beautiful results.
Collagraph Group Print Exhibition
29th February - 31st October 2020
What is a collagraph?
A collagraph refers to a combination of relief and print made on any flat surface using different textures. Usually, it is done by inking a plate with intaglio ink using a paintbrush, roller or a combination. Collaged materials can be glued onto the print plate to form a relief surface with a variety of textures.
Here's one of our printmakers Clare Maria Wood demonstrating how a collagraph plate is inked up...
About our printmakers:
Suzie's work explores the landscape and structures of the far northern Highlands of Scotland and reflects a long-term personal connection with place. It exists primarily as a subjective response to its narrative, the use of atmospheric colour an attempt to communicate a lived experience of the beauty and mystery of specific moments and places. "For most observers the far north is a remote area of the country, a ‘wilderness’ which seems bleak and uninhabited; yet nevertheless the landscape tells a story of individuals’ and communities’ intimate relationships with the land down through millennia if only one can learn how, and where, to look." As often as not the prints also include, and occasionally focus on, some of the creatures that also make this place their home and are constant companions here. Collagraph’s appeal for Suzie lies in its versatility and accessibility as well as its uniquely textural possibilities; she enjoys the technical challenge of breaking down a complex and nuanced image to a restricted number of tones and almost-abstract marks dictated by the nature of tools and materials, then rebuilding it to a point where it once again becomes identifiable. Suzie finds combining traditional with more recent and contemporary approaches to printmaking, such as digitally created chine collé papers, encourages experimentation and enables exciting new ways of expression. If you're interested in learning more about Collagraphs Suzie has written a book; find out more here.
Clare Maria Wood
Clare originally trained as a painter and has taught printmaking for fifteen years. She creates monoprints and small variable edition collagraphs. As a painter, it seems natural to Clare to take an inventive approach to printmaking. She begins by building up layers of texture on card using brushes, card and sticks. This can be carborundum, pumice, acrylic gel and plaster. She often burns back into these plates, allowing the process to dictate the outcome to an extent whilst retaining control of the feel of the shape. This allows her to create organic feeling assemblages such as ‘Fossil Flower’. Using an intaglio method of printing Clare creates heavily embossed prints with deep velvety tones, which contrast with bright colour rubs which she layers on top. She incorporates rust imprints, pure copper and silver leaf, creating areas of intense light and interest under the printed surface. Bold organic shapes are centre stage in Clare’s printmaking; her Megalithic series is inspired by prehistoric rock formations around Cornwall, Derbyshire and North Yorkshire. Clare exhibits nationally and has work in collections around the world. Clare's work features in Suzie MacKenzie's book.
Hester works from her garden studio in Horton-in-Ribblesdale within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and has specialised in collagraph printmaking since graduating from Harrow School of Art & Design with a BA (hons) Illustration twenty-five years ago. The textural qualities inherent in this medium combined with the experimental nature of plate-making have always appealed to her and she is constantly exploring new ways to create her images. As a keen fell runner, Hester’s excursions often take her to wilder less visited locations in all weathers and at all times of year. It is invariably her physical experience of a place that inspires a new piece of work. By using multiple plates, painted textures and intricate cutting in her collagraph printmaking Hester aims to accentuate the colours and patterns found in the natural world and draw attention to the everyday occurrences that happen around us but that are often forgotten. Her most recent body of work is inspired by a current obsession with birds in flight. Hester is particularly drawn to flocks of birds flying and she has spent a lot of time studying starling and jackdaw murmurations. Hester is a member of Leeds Fine Artists, Printmakers Circle, Northern Print, Three Peaks Arts and Ålgården Studios in Sweden exhibiting widely and teaching printmaking workshops across the UK and Sweden. Hester's work features in Suzie MacKenzie's book.
Estella originally trained as a painter, although in more recent years her work has focussed on printmaking and handmade artists books.. She enjoys working in several printmaking techniques, primarily collagraph, but also etching and monoprint. Although Estella lives in Cheshire, much of her inspiration comes from walking in coastal locations in North West Wales, observing the eroding forces of wind and waves on rocks, beach debris, and the almost vanishing evidence of historic coastal industries. This provides a rich source of subtle colours, textures and ambiguous forms, their original shapes worn away almost to abstraction. Estella prefers to let her observations linger in her memory for a while, to be further distilled and abstracted until they emerge onto paper. Estella's collagraphs are printed using oil paint, with each plate being individually hand-coloured on both the intaglio and relief surfaces before passing through the press in one pull. Each print is therefore unique, although there may be several variable colour combinations from the same printing plate. Estella enjoys the unpredictable nature of collagraph as the plates change with use. This echoes the gradual process of erosion on the coastline.