Collagraph Workshop – Day One

What a wonder way to spend three days in summery June – a one-to-one workshop with artist Dawn Cole. After attending a couple of disappointing courses I looked carefully before booking another. I chose this artist as I felt we had some connection – both working with textiles and both interested in family history.

I knew very little about collagraph and over the long weekend investigated plate making and printing in monotone and colour. I wasn’t expecting to produce any finished work but rather playing with materials in order to take the process further at a later date.


The view from the studio door.


Inside the studio.

Dawn started by showing me some of her work – just to my taste as not figurative but with a strong concept behind the images. She then demonstrated how to make the plates.

Cut card to required size then seal front, back and sides with strong PVA diluted 50% with water, leave to dry.

Method 1
Select materials to create plate, make sure all parts are stuck down well using neat PVA – fill any undercuts with PVA. Seal with quick drying clear water based varnish, back, front and sides. Don’t use too much as the texture of the materials must come through.

Method 2
Using decorators’ filler mix with 50/50 solution of PVA and water – this gives a flexible plaster finish. Add texture by scratching into the plaster, pressing objects into it, which can be left in or taken out – make sure the finish don’t have too many high or sharp points. When dry use fine sandpaper to remove extra rough surfaces then seal as before.


Different types of tape and tissue paper.


Plaster with grass and dried hydrangea flowers.


PVA covered with cling-film – removed when PVA has dried.P1000766






Papers, sandpaperP1000723




 At the end of the first day Dawn showed my how to ink up the plates and run them through the press….ready for me to start the next day.


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