I am always on the hunt for new ways to make marks. Over the last few days I have been playing around with the use of acrylic gel mediums and carborundum (silicon carbide) grit as collagraphic media. The basic idea here is that the surface of the plate is built up with layers of texture. The resulting plate is then inked and wiped as an intaglio plate would be. The built up surface behaves in a fashion similar to the raised burr in a drypoint, catching the ink behind the texture and resisting its removal.

My initial experiments involved using Golden Extra Heavy Gel Medium and Golden Heavy Gel Medium. For a plate I used a piece of clear acrylic sheet (Plexiglas) with the edges appropriately beveled. The gel was allowed to dry overnight. The plate was printed with Daniel Smith #99 Intense Black on Rives BFK using sizing catcher/ former / pusher blanket system.

In this image, the top row is done with Extra Heavy Gel. The two marks on the left were made by brushing and dabbing the gel on to the plate. The next mark to the right was made by mixing some 100 grit carborundum with the gel and brushing it on to the plate. The last (rightmost) mark was made by dabbing the gel onto the plate and then sprinkling the carborundum into the wet gel. The bottom row uses the same approach using the thinner Heavy Gel.

Here are a couple of detail shots of the plate. The first one shows the Extra Heavy Gel by itself and with the grit mixed in.

This one shows the Heavy gel by itself and with the grit mixed in.

I was very happy with how the gel stood up to the wiping and the pressure of printing. The paper was very deeply embossed and in the deep areas the ink had a wonderful texture. There was some tendency to loose grit on the first couple of impressions, but it did not seem to affect the quality of the image much.

The results show some very interesting marks. Now to think about how to work these into an image!