Monday, June 25, 2012

Collagraph and acetate drypoint workshop in Kenora Ontario

abundance of activity happening during my recent printmaking workshop in Kenora

This past weekend I gave a lively workshop to around 14 enthusiastic participants in Kenora, Ontario. This was part of the Community Arts Hub initiative arranged through the Kenora Association for Community Living . Kenora is a picturesque city located on the shores of Lake of the Woods in the further most western region of the province of Ontario near the province of Manitoba and state of Minnesota borders. It has a robust arts community and is a busy place especially during the summer months with a great influx of tourism due to it's beautiful surroundings and many appealing recreational activities. Below are some photos taken during the weekend. The first batch listed under Kenora are from the town itself. These are followed with a series of photos from the workshop that focus on the creation stages, printing and a few of the results produced by participants. A big thank you to Jeff, Laura and M.E. for your hard work that allowed this to happen. I also want to personally thank each participant who attended, your creative spirit was very evident during the weekend. 


              View of the town of Kenora from restaurant on top floor of Best Western Lakeside Inn

nice evening colours over Lake of the Woods

View of Lake of the Woods looking south

Lakeside Inn Kenora ON

Collagraph and drypoint on acetate

The workshop was divided into two sessions that inclued a three hour intro and demo on the Friday evening and a full 8 hours on the Saturday. The activity took place in a space that is a converted older residental home. When you fill these mid size rooms with tables and people it can get a bit tight for space. The trick was to organize areas for particular things such as where one can work on making a plate, where to place the press, an area for applying the inks, an area for papers and space to put prints to dry post printing.
Participants created collagraph prints using collage techniques and choosing from a variety of materials to adhere with adhesives to mat board base sheets. These were sealed mainly under plastic food wrap using a tack spray adhesive coupled with the pressure of the press roller. Plates were passed under the printing felts to mold the plastic over the low relief elements.
We used non-toxic Akua Intaglio inks since these produce fairly vivid colours but also their ease of clean up and lack of odour. The ink was wiped, painted and rolled onto the plates and then the plates had damp Canson Edition rag paper set over top, newsprint and 3 layers of wool felt blankets. They were passed under the top roller of my small press using various pressures depending on the plate heights.

For the second component of the workshop participants were given the opportunity to scribe a simple sketch into thin acetate sheet using anything from an etching needle, awl tip to nail head. These had ink wiped into the line, the excess surface ink was wiped away with tartalan bundles and then a relief roll of a contrast colour was applied with a brayer to produce a simple but colourful print.

here I am giving a demo of the printing stage

showing the print on paper

 Saturday morning participants work on constructing their plates
 from which collagraph prints would be created.

corner for applying inks

paricipant applying ink to her plate
she used an actual dried swallowtail butterfly as one of her collage elements

a bit of a tight squeeze not only for the press procedure but for participants who want to get by

the reveal of a monochrmatic collagraph that incorporated birch bark and fern leaf

a colourful floral theme was produced in this print
from a plate that incorporated a variety of materials
ã 2012

slighter pressure passing the plate under the roller
coupled with selective spot wiping produced this energetic study
ã 2012 

this participant brought some of her own handmade paper
It was derived mainly from cotton but also had organic found objects
 including cat tail fibers and the foam that is found floating on the surface of water along shore
ã 2012

monochromatic collagraph print taped onto thin hard board to dry
ã 2012

example of participant collagraph print
ã 2012

collagraph print
ã 2012

monochromatic study of a birds nest collagraph
ã 2012

very bold monochromatic collagraph

drypoint with relief roll from acetate sheet
ã 2012

collagraph derived from fern leaves
ã 2012

collagraph produced from various organic elements
 including insects and grasses
ã 2012


  1. What a wonderful workshop.... Great location, enthused attendance and beautiful printmaking. Nice post!

  2. At the Community Arts Hub we were so pleased to recieve a Northern Arts Grant from the Ontario Arts Council so that we could make this workshop happen! We were happy to welcome you Brian and all the artists who came to learn that day! they all loved it and want more!

  3. thanks Northern Girl

    I am planning to host a workshop in alternative etching here in Thunder Bay in the new year...perhaps in the spring or summer I might be able to offer the same workshop to Kenora artists as there was some interest expressed during my visit this past July. I really enjoyed that weekend in Kenora and was pleased by all the enthusiasm and creativity by those that attended.