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Collagraphs Part 1: Preparing the plates

Collagraphs Collagraphs are a unique form of intaglio printmaking involving incising screenboard, or collaging textured materials onto screenboard or cardboard (colla meaning 'glue', and graph, 'act of drawing'). The boards can be incised and scratched into to created texture as well; when inked up, any scratches and cuts will be printed. I decided that I wanted to integrate paper mechanics in my project in the form of a pop-up. I first decided what I wanted in my design and researched around this. I found a series of web tutorials by Duncan Birmingham, and utilised the right angle v-fold and parallelogram techniques for the palace arches and walls, and the automatic pull-strip technique for the towers. They are surprisingly easy to make, but require precise measuring, so I started by making a prototype to inform the dimensions of my plates.

After deciding upon the design and creating the prototype, I gathered material I thought would be suitable for each part of the palace. The initial idea for my design was to build an enchanted forest with animals and lost children, then construct a large pop-up in the center of the forest. The pop-up would consist of a set of doors and a drawbridge that would open into a palace, guarding knights and all. I was going to have royal figures in the palace, but this would have required quite a number of additional plates! I had a plastic table runner with floral designs and curved edges that suited the palace arches perfectly, and some lace that I thought would create a sort of hedge along the outer wall. I used smooth screenboard for the main palace, thinking a bit of monoprinting could be incorporated to add colour to the sky and palace floor. For the walls and tower, I used particle board and drew with PVA glue to create a stone and mortar look, and for the doors and drawbridge, I used paper with wood grain texture given to me by Jazmina. Lastly, for the glass windows, I used wide craft ribbon I found at a discount shop. After a lot of cutting and gluing, and more cutting, I had my plates prepared precisely to size.

Here's how they turned out post-printing. For the most part they held up, although some twigs and branches tore off the trees and the little fox lost a couple of legs!

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