Collagraphy with Vishakha Apte

Second in our series of printmaking workshops were sessions facilitated by renowned printmaker Vishakha Apte, who taught the participants the art of Collagraphy.

The word is derived from the Greek word koll or kolla, meaning glue, and graph, meaning the activity of drawing.

The artist took the students through the process by showing them some of her own plates, before they started to discover this form of print on their own.

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The plates are made by applying material to a rigid surface (For this workshop we used mount board). The material can be anything that can easily be stuck on board and has an interesting texture. The students explored this criteria by gathering things from nature like leaves, flowers, seeds and sand and also using other items like pencil shavings, various kinds of textured paper, rope and string.

Once all the material is pasted on the board in the desired pattern, a semi-thick mixture containing glue, plaster of paris and water is applied to the plate. After it is allowed to dry, 3 layers of enamel paint must be painted on to seal everything in. Making a basic collagraph plate is quite easy and the children enjoyed themselves.

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The next step involved inking the plate. Apte first showed them how the ink has to be mixed with a bit of oil to thin it down before it can be applied to the plate. Once it is evenly smeared over the plate, excessive ink must be wiped off. Guided by the artist the students quickly prepared their boards and then printed them on soaked and blotted, damp paper. After experimenting with the amount of ink they let remain on the plate and taking test prints, the participants started doing their final prints, by then even operating the printing machine independently!

This lesson in collagraphy gave the students an opportunity to explore a different kind of collage making, to experiment with various textures and material, and the technique of layering to subdue the strength of the textures.

Stay tuned for Vishakha Aptes next set of sessions where she will work in detail on conceptual print making with a select group of children.

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