Adventures in painters tape Part 1

My adventures with painter’s tape continued during my time in a monoprinting workshop at Penland School of Crafts.  I should probably mention that monoprinting usually uses a plate with no matrix. No etched plate, no carved linoleum or wood block, no collagraph. Nothing repeatable.

I just had to have a matrix

Yet I felt compelled to try out my new tool by creating a matrix. My intention was to create the matrix, roll out the ink and then remove the tape. I eventually did this, thus destroying the matrix before I could take a picture of it. Here’s what a new matrix looks like, with both 1/4 inch tape and 1/8 in tape. You can see some ink residue on the tape even after it has been cleaned.

Painters tape matrix on polycarbonate.
A newer matrix of painters tape on a polycarbonate plate.

My intention was to make a matrix that created perspective, and also suggested the notion of a scientist’s specimen case. As a young rock collector, I had coveted the geologist’s fabric lined boxes with precious rocks and minerals. A quick sketch gave me a shape, which I then had to reverse on my polycarbonate plate.

Perspective sketch in pencil
My quick sketch, which needed to be reversed on the block.

FOMO in the studio

Because creating the matrix did take some time, I wanted to see what would happen if I printed the block before I removed the tape. I was interested to learn that when using rollers, an area of the plate just next to the tape wasn’t inked. When printed, this left a white line that would be impossible to achieve otherwise. In addition, the tape itself had an rougher texture with darker parts when the tape overlapped.

What a surprise! Suddenly I wanted to try every permutation I could think of before removing the tape.  I created a series of monoprints, each a little different in the colors of ink, some with cheesecloth pressed into them. Some monoprints then got a second layer printed on top of the first — using a white or pale blue with a pattern created by solvent. This is what I did with the monoprint below.

Collage monoprint with maps.
Collage monoprint with maps.

The perfect platform for collage

Suddenly I had a two-layered print that felt like it was not finished. I created some collage papers with both Rives BFK and Thai Unryu papers printed with solvent spattered plates. I combined these with some vintage maps to create a series of original collage monoprints.

This was such a departure from my previous reduction linocuts. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to develop new ideas, not knowing what the finished image would look like. Studio time was very absorbing and pleasurable.

Pulling off the painter’s tape surprisingly led to a much less interesting image that I haven’t developed yet. I did try some other experiments with removing tape from the block before printing which I will unveil in my next blog…

2 Replies to “Adventures in painters tape Part 1”

  1. Next time, try laying tons of layered small pieces of blue tape, leave the grid clean plexi. Then ink it like an intaglio. The lines will wipe clean, the tape will create an interesting texture. Use this for a different plate that registers to the first gridded tape plate you make and print as a two run registered impression….might be nice? Andy

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