Breaking the rules yet again

When you begin to learn about printmaking at a university, there are many rules. Some are for safety — avoid catching your hand under the press roller, don’t splash the acid, etc. You also learn how to create an edition where each print should be virtually identical. Use wheat paste for chine collé (collage) work. More rules…

If I am honest, I have been enjoying printmaking so much more, now that I’m breaking the rules.

Efflorescence. Monoprint collage, 18 x 18in, $475.

I’ve been making unique monoprint collages for a while now. I appreciate that each new piece allows me to problem-solve as I create. When I finished the inner collage shape in Efflorescence (see above), I was still overwhelmed by the intense yellow green, in a way I was not in recent works with a darker background. (See Aeon below)

Aeon. Monoprint Collage, 18 x 18in, $475 ($575 framed)

Is this still printmaking?

Using a monoprint collage matrix in a color I did not like, I experimented with cutting out part of the color. (See below) 

While this might be a possibility in future work, I found it confusing and it  made the corners of the work unstable. I decided to try adding some textured paper to the larger flat areas of color using Thai Unryu paper. This Asian paper is thin with periodic inclusions (larger fibers) but when cut into curves was difficult to handle.

Reconsidering adhesives

So I tried using Gudy-O, a clear, rolled adhesive I had seen used in a recent workshop to stabilize the paper. I traced the curves on to the Unryu paper, and stuck the entire sheet down on the sticky side of the Gudy-O, (The other side has a removable waxy sheet.) Then I could carefully cut my curves, remove the thin shapes from the sheet, gradually peel off the waxy sheet and attach the curves directly to the collage. 

Here is the Thai Unryu paper shape that has been cut out, but not yet adhered to the green background.

Past printmaking and collage courses have told me I need to use cooked wheat paste for adding elements. Glueing these thin curves would have been impossible with a wet adhesive. Hooray for Gudy-O!

Whew! I think I’ve foiled the printmaking police yet again…

How do you creatively break the rules?

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