Chine Colle Experimentations

A couple of years ago I shared a post about my first attempt at chine colle, a means of intaglio printing that allows for finer details by printing thin, delicate paper onto a thicker, stronger paper base. My experiments weren't particularly successful, but I always wanted to try it again, which I did this past January.

Back in October I'd made a sketch of an Argali sheep skulls at the Osteology Museum in Oklahoma City. I thought it would make for a cool print, and worked up a Plexi plate over the fall. Here's the print on its own without any modifications:

It's interesting enough on its own, but I thought it could use a little pizzazz. A few years ago I'd marbled several sheets of leftover tissue paper, and I thought it would be neat to print this over the sheep's horns. 

I started out by cutting out the shapes of the horns on several pieces of tissue paper. I went for several sheets because I wasn't sure how well it was going to work out.

I then inked the plate, and carefully laid the tissue paper on top of the plate, using modge podge as a glue to secure it. It printed beautifully...

...onto the plate, that is. Much to my chagrin, I realized that I should have adhered the tissue onto the paper, not the plate, foiling my plans for perfect alignment. Live and learn.

Nevertheless, I was able to salvage the tissue and get it on to the print. It got terribly wrinkled in the process, but I at least got a sense of what I had been trying to achieve.

I then went for a second print attempt. This time, I go the tissue on to the paper and the alignment was good, but I had forgotten to buffer the cardboard on top of the paper with a felt blanket, resulting in these cardboard impressions all over the paper.

The third attempt wasn't bad, but the lines on the tissue got blurry because I used too much modge podge, which spoiled the effect for me.

At this point I had gone through my pre-cut tissue and didn't want to cut any more, so I assembled a handful of the leftover bits onto one sheet and printed it. I liked all the different colors, but I also figured I could achieve a similar effect more easily by just marbling paper ahead of time.

Finally, I took a few leftover pieces and pasted them on randomly for an abstract effect. Of all the experiments, I thought this one had the most potential because it allowed me to use different shapes, rather than be limited to the parameters of the skull itself. It still needs work though, as these were just random leftover parts.

The moral of this story, if there is one, is that no experiment is a total wash just because it didn't turn out the way you had expected it to do. None of my prints from this adventure was particularly successful, but I learned a lot about chine colle in the process, and got some new ideas for that might end up being better than what I originally had in mind. So whatever it is you do, get out there and keep doing it, because you never know what you might discover.

Funny, that's exactly what I said in my last chine colle post.