Friday, 28 June 2013

Chine colle (sticking the light stuff down)

I chose a lightweight tissue for my latest print "Leaving Saltery Bay" for a couple of reasons. The main two were entirely practical.

I'd planned out a reduction lino cut that would require 4 different inkings and 4 separate pressings and even for a relatively small edition of 25 prints this would mean winding my press up and down 100 times if I used my preferred 120g paper. The tissue however picks up the ink under the gentlest of pressure and needed only a few swipes with a bamboo skin baren.

The second reason was the difference in drying time. I've found that the first layer of Caligo relief ink sits well on traditional papers, soaking in just enough to dry within a day or two into a nice matt finish. However subsequent layers of ink dry very, very slowly and usually retain a slight sheen. By contrast the lighter tissues absorb 3rd and even 4th layers of ink. I didn't want to lose the momentum of carving and printing by waiting for days in between for prints to dry and knew my impatience could easily ruin the whole edition. So I hedged my bets and split the edition between the light weight tissue and Zerkall, with many more on the former than the latter.

Having created a pile of wafty sheets of sheer inkiness I realised I hadn't quite thought through the finishing process, which brings me to my nori versus Coccoina experiment. Presuming that the nori was the “correct” thing to use I set about testing a little off cut. Then I remember the delicious smelling Coccoina and thought I'd give that a whirl at the same time. I pasted the heavier weight paper (Stonehenge) then smoothed the tissue onto it. The Coccoina was much dryer to apply, perhaps I should have left the nori to the air for a minute or two longer but photos below show the outcome:

nori sample to the left, Coccoina to the right
nori sample to the left, Coccoina to the right
The nori sample buckled a bit more than Coccoina. I've now used the Coccoina on the real thing and, with application of a couple of hours light press pressure, I'm really pleased with the results.


  1. I love your design. And really interesting experiment in pasting the paper, I hand burnish all my prints so usually use various lightweight Japanese and Nepalese papers. I like how the ink and paper become one.

  2. Thank you Celia. I do find hand burnishing more relaxing and I like the scope for varying the density of the ink. I might splash out on some different paper stock, I think I have been a little conservative of late and need to experiment a lot more!



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