Tetrapak and Scrim

Scrim as collagraph

It was quite a step away from linocut towards using Tetrapak. With linocut the skill is in the cutting of the block. Once the image is cut, the inking up is pretty straight forward. Printing with Tetrapak is a whole other process. I had to learn how to print using the intaglio method, and using the press as well (setting aside my trusty baren).

An essential item for printing using the intaglio method is scrim. Tetrapak is pretty difficult to ink up as it is much less substantial than most base materials. The simplest method I have found is to apply the ink with a small knife (or my thumb) and then pull it back off with scrim in a straight upwards line, holding the bottom of the plate with a clean piece of material to avoid thumb prints.

It was natural as I became more comfortable with the process, to wonder what scrim would look like as part of the plate itself? Pretty good it turns out. Particularly making multiple prints with the same plate and pieces of scrim. The first plate isn’t up to much, as the scrim is clean and white, and leaves a blank, if textured surface, on top of the more subtle inky tetrapak. However using the same materials multiple times, interesting things begin to happen. As the previous pressings push the scrim into the base to create more interesting texture, so the scrim itself begins to ink up and print in subtler greys on top. The effect is gorgeous!

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