Carborundum Collagraph:
Texture and Image

“Vintage” - painterly carborundum collagraph

“Address Unknown” - two-plate collagraph

“Off-Axis” – carborundum collagraph from digital image

digital image (original source)

making the test plate

carborundum collagraph from digital image

base exposure test film

prepping to make the sphere plate

printing the sphere plate

“The New Normal” - two-plate collagraph

cropping splash ink paper for Chine collé

“Decoding Life” - example of using splash ink paper for Chine collé

Learn to create painterly and photo carborundum collagraphs in this innovate workshop


The class will begin with an exploration of various methods of creating expressive, painterly prints. With an understanding of how various acrylic gels and pastes ink up, you’ll know how to plan the “values” in your print. Unlike collagraphs created with mat board and collaged elements, carborundum collagraphs produce a final plate that is very durable and that doesn’t require sealing.

We’ll use Akua’s Carborundum Gel and fine carborundum grit – both of which can be used with stencils – and practice methods that produce random textural qualities as well as thin calligraphic lines. Smooth and textured plates will be provided, allowing for more creative possibilities.

These painterly methods use plate-making materials that are easy to find and inexpensive. Plates can be created quickly and can be printed just hours later.


You’ll then build on this foundation by creating carborundum collagraph prints from images. You can either use digital images or you can draw on polyester film.

This technique uses a light-sensitive film adhered to screen printing mesh (often referred to as “EZ film”). The film is exposed to a positive transparency in a light exposure unit (or the sun) and any unexposed film is washed out with water. To make the plate, Akua’s Carborundum Gel is pushed through the holes in the exposed mesh onto clear acrylic (this is akin to screen printing with thick paint but without the frame). Plates are inked up with Akua Intaglio ink and printed on an etching press on dampened paper.

You can see this process in action in Akua’s video Introducing Akua Carborundum Gel for Printmaking (focus on the section titled “Making the Plate,” which starts at 1:50):

Photo stencils like the one used in Akua’s video can be purchased ready-made but they are expensive, and that can cramp your style if you like to experiment! In this class, you’ll learn how to create your own stencils at a fraction of the price.

Images that work best with this process are black-and-white line art, graphical designs, and high-contrast photos and silhouettes such as those created with the iOS app Inkwork. Using this technique, you can easily convert flat graphical images into interesting textured prints and you can further edit your plates with the addition of drypoint lines and painterly marks. Photographic collagraphs rely on a combination of techniques and materials, but none of the steps are difficult and the drying time for each step is fast.

All these collagraph plates also combine well with intaglio techniques for multiple plate printmaking.

Splash Ink for Chine Collé

As a bonus tutorial, you’ll also learn how to create custom paper using a technique called splash ink. This uses mulberry paper with watermedia to create sheets of colorful paper that can be used for Chine collé backgrounds for your high-contrast collagraph prints.

About Your instructor

Trish Meyer is an experimental artist, printmaker and calligrapher with a background in graphic design. Trish employs a wide range of techniques including collagraph, lithography, mokulito and photo processes, with a blend of calligraphic marks and hi-tech digital imagery.

Instructor: Trish Meyer

Location: Making Art Safely
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Class dates: POSTPONED UNTIL 2021

Class time: Monday-Thursday, 10am–5pm; Friday, 10am–4pm; includes lunch break. 

Class fee:  TBA