Cobbles II

by maggie



blotted solvent print with blank block and masks

I’m not sure if you’d call this making progress or its just eliminating wrong turnings. 

One of the tools I was using for my City Lit plates were masks and stencils to control where the ink from a particular plate/block went.  I reviewed the collages done in the intervening time and made a set pebbles to use with my six inch plates. Part of my cunning plan was to use the masks inked during the printing of one image as part of another. Which is mostly silly if you think about it – but I learn best from doing.

This post is mostly made up of an interlinked series of prints, but as I worked on them I realised that I couldn’t work this way if I wanted to produce editions. That means that there has to be an explicit experimental phase, followed by an editorial, plate making and finally printing a finished image.

[not that i didn’t already know this theoretically] I feel I’ve grown as artist.

Back to business.

Another thing I picked up at Cit lit is a love for a really badly inked block. I like the granular-ness and the lines. It’s easy to do by ‘accident’, but what about repeatability?

The first image in the post is perhaps closest to what I was making before; a blotted solvent print and an inked up square block. The pebbles hinted at by an absence. Now if only I could get that lovely line on a heaver paper. this image fills the whole paper not just the square. is this what i’m after?

This next plate reuses the mask pebbles from the first print. It would have perhaps worked better if the block had been inked up with different colour ink. The block is dry-point card which is thin and shiny, the masks varnished watercolour paper. You can see the marks of  paper pebbles  from the previous printing have squashed the block.


masks with transferred ink and a solvent block


This print is a ghost from the block used on the print at the top of the post. because the pebble masks are non absorbent the ink sandwiched between them and the block stays behind. This print may get used as part of another composition some time.


ghost print of block from first print

This print isn’t really a print at all. Because the dry-point card is so thin I thought it better to put some extra packing in the press and so I ended up with a blind emboss of the first print on this post. I used relief ink to add colour with a roller. The textured paper and the grooves at the edge of the block and masks remain white.


blind emboss, with roller applied ink


Just a really badly inked block. In fact two badly inked blocks, you have to work quite hard to get a block as badly inked as this.


mono print with embossing from masks

This is a relief print of the largest pebble i made. It’s coated with some of the stuff I used on the emery paper in the previous post. The mottled colour comes from using everyone else’s table scraps.




An experiment in mark making. Ink was applied well and then removed gradually with a toy ball, covered in spikes. The resulting mess on the tissue behind the block is as interesting as the print.

I wish I had enough wall space to hang all these trials up as reminders as plan my next line of attack.



What to say about this print. Rolled on red ink. Removed some of it with a cloth, rolled on green ink, which only stuck on the clean area. Little bit of solvent.


inking, cleaning and adding different ink


Now can you see why i like the crease paper when it works, the textures are a lot more believable. Maybe this kind of thing would work much better as a second plate. below is a ghost print of this block. The darker areas are where the ink trapped with the mask has printed.


scratching and mask


ghost print of previous prints

This session of printing has answered some questions about where this project is going, but also raised far more. Do I like the square format? It is challenging. Should the image go outside the square. Colours and tone and textures… back to the drawing board I think.


Some of these images have been fiddled with in post production.