Sunday, 24 April 2011

Signing on as Collagraph Woman

My name is Brenda Hartill, I am an artist printmaker, using print as an element of my work 
since the mid 1970s. 

So I’m taking the leap into blogdom, mainly because I hope to be able to regularly post bits of information, tips and ideas, which might be helpful to printmakers who are interested in Collagraph, and hopefully get feed-back and a discussion going. I’m hoping to reach others experimenting in the field, as well as collectors interested in the creative process of print.

Primeval Land II, Collagraph

I occasionally give talks and demonstrations, and intend to make short videos of some of the techniques I use. I’m in the process of making a DVD, but until that is published I intend to show a series of how-to demos in my blog. I’ll also give information about my exhibitions and open studios coming up, with a few of the new images I am working on.

Spring Song I, embossed watercolour
At the moment I am producing a series of unique embossed watercolours and I am  straying a bit from creating strictly  limited edition works, so you can see my  approach is “anything goes”.  With these new watercolours, I am generally using a collagraph plate to produce the embossing (printed either as a blind emboss (no ink) or very extended inks, and then building up layers of vibrant watercolour to enhance the textures lying within the embossed paper. All these works are unique, and were well received at my recent shows at the Curwen and New Academy gallery, as well as the Spring 2011 Battersea Affordable Art Fair.

My next event is an exhibition and Open Studio, in the Oast House Gallery, Udimore, Rye, as part of the South East Open Studios on June11 & 12, and 18 & 19, 11am – 5pm see invite.  This is the best way to see the large variety of prints and paintings which I have produced over the years, from quite representational etchings to abstract etchings, collages etchings and collagraphs – and perhaps buy direct from the artist. 

On Sat 18 we’ll be demonstrating printing collagraphs, and I’ll be giving a talk at 2pm

Next week I hope to publish my first demo video... look out for it!!

Best wishes,
Collagraph Woman


  1. I am so happy that you have decided to do a blog, looking forward to see what you are experimenting with and to be constantly inspired by your work.

    I visited the Curwen gallery to see your exhibition a couple of months ago, it was wonderful to see your work in the flesh, a joy, and well worth the long train journey.

  2. Hi Brenda
    I have been working mainly in collagraphs and have been attempting to use some silver and gold leaf in my prints but have not been successful in keeeping the gold on the paper rather than it coming off on the plate. It seems the ink pulls it off.
    I have used 2 systems one is gluing the leaf on first with glue. The other was to ink a part of the plate and use the ink as a glue then leave that to dry before printing over it
    Would you be able to give me some suggestions for how I might be more successful
    If you could help it would be greatly appreciated

  3. Hi Barbara,
    No probs, always happy to give advice! There is always a battle between the stickiness of the ink, and glue. When I wrote my book I was using cornflour paste... sort of custard consistancy, made fresh and then kept warm in a flask, but I have since discovered a low Ph PVA (here available from Atlantis in London) which is stickier than the paste, and works well nearly all the time.... you could try Melbourne etching... Margie's probably got some. (normal waterproof PVA works OK, but it isnt acid free, so isnt archival, but you could try out the method using this)
    After inking up the plate, and wiping it, I place it on the press ready to print,(after trapping the paper in the press). I then place the loose gold or silver leaf on the area I want it to go, gently pressing it into the surface, making sure it doesnt overlap on itself. Then I paste the back of the leaf with the special PVA, working quickly so it doesnt have a chance to dry out or bead. (if you past over the edge of the leaf, it doesnt seem to matter) The simply run the print through the press, and hopefully bingo!!!

  4. Hello Brenda. Nice to see you in the bloggersphere. Seems this is the way to keep in touch nowadays. Lovely to see your work. Jen