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Book review: Print with Collage & Stitch

Glen Alps was a printmaker and educator who is credited with having developed the collagraph.  A collagraph is a print whose plate is a board or other substrate onto which textured materials are glued. The plate may be inked for printing in either the intaglio or the relief manner and then printed onto paper. Although the inventor of the process is not known, Alps made collagraphy his primary art form and coined the word "collagraph" in 1956.  He disseminated the techniques he developed for making collagraphs during his long career as both an artist and a teacher.    Wikipedia, Glen Alps
Val Holmes has written this excellent guide for Interweave Books on using collagraphy in your mixed media work, paying special attention to printing on fabrics.  Print with Collage & Stitch covers all the details so you won't be guessing about anything.  She starts with materials to use for the collagraphy plates and what types of materials to add to them to get the best textures.  Longevity and number of prints off each material is carefully considered, ending with a fantastic chart of materials on page 31.  I learned about some new (to me, anyway) materials for creating texture, and was introduced to the idea of adding gesso or varnish before printing.  All good!
One of Val's pieces you'll find in the book

The next major topic is which media to use in printing, depending upon your materials and printing method.  Val suggests starting with what you already have, which for many of us would be acrylic paints.  Further on, chapters cover how to prepare the fabrics or papers for printing, adding stitching or color to prepared fabrics or papers either before or after printing.  There is an entire chapter on the details of stitching onto the collagraphy plate, by machine and by hand.  Printing methods, intaglio, relief, and blind printing are covered, along with whether or not to use a press.  Val suggests that sometimes you can use your car if you don't have a press!!

One of the highlights of the book for me is the chapter on adding embroidery to completed prints.  You guys know that I like doing that stuff!  And the book ends with a little chapter on making your own press if you like the DIY way. 

Fossil II, Val Holmes

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