Digital and Chine Colle: Building an Image

For this project you are going to be "building a print" in Photoshop, combining digital and analog elements you have learned over the course of the semester.  Each of the analog processes you have learned has it's own aesthetic and so do digital processes.  You will be playing off of those aesthetic differences by printing some elements and digitally manipulating and printing others.  The purpose of working in this way is to build visual interest by making viewers question the nature of the object they are seeing.

Chine collé is French for thin paper collage.  Chine collé is literally collaging a thin piece of paper onto a heavier piece of paper.  There are multiple reasons a print maker might want to do this.  Most usually, a printmaker will want to combine different papers with different properties in order to get a different feel in different areas of a single print.  Laying a finer more sensitive paper into part of a print gives a printmaker an area that will take a finer detail and tone.  It is also common to use colored paper or elements printed via other processes to add color to a print without having to make another plate.

Chine collé éléments can be pasted to the blank paper and everything printed in one shot from one plate.  Or elements can be printed separately and combined later.  In either case, it the press is usually used to press the elements together.  The press provides an even pressure and squeezes out any air bubbles, which are a real problem when gluing by hand.

You may use any and as many analog or digital processes as you like.  You may also use processes we have not covered in this class as long as you can convince me that you know what you're doing.  Don't forget that you can scan things other than printed elements.

It can take some searching to find prints that incorporate digital processes.  Here are some places to start:
Tandem Press
Higher Pictures
Sam Falls
Meredyth Sparks
Jerry Lamme
Jenny Weiner

Before the first class on this assignment: 
Develop your image and printing strategy and be ready to start printing.  

Assignment Outline:

This is your final assignment for the semester.  Make it good.  You ought have at least one process that you are interested in exploring further.  Use any processes you like to make this final print.  It should be very well thought out and reflect a high level of craft. 

You will be making an edition or a suite of four prints. 

- Begin building your print by physically printing several of the elements that your image will require.  
- Import these elements into Photoshop by scanning and/or photographing them.  Scanning is best for elements that should remain flat.  You can use photography to create an interesting sense of perspective by shooting at different angles.  
- Each element should be in a separate layer, so you can arrange and manipulate them individually.  
- In Photoshop or another imaging software, manipulate your analog elements and, if you choose, create new digital elements.  Zoom and crop the background, experiment with digital effects, resize elements, push and pull things into perspectival space, etc.  
- Print the now digitized image, take it back to the shop, and chine collé new analog elements to it.  

Chine collé: (These instructions are taken from Evergreen State's online version.)
You'll have thin pieces of paper, cut to a desire shape, coated with a thin application of glue, and set into position on your plate. You then glue the paper and print the image with one roll through the press. The plate will impress its textures and forms into the chine collé paper.

The procedure for chine collé is simple, but it must be done without wasting time at the critical point of gluing.

- Cut or tear the Chine collé paper (this should be a thin paper such as a rice or mulberry paper – thinner than the intaglio paper it will be glued to). In some cases the chine colle paper may need to be dampened briefly and blotted well so that excess water in the paper will not dilute the glue and compromise the adhesive bond. In most cases it may be used dry.
- Tear down your support sheets of paper.  These are the heavier papers that will carry the entire image.
- Ink and the plate and have it ready to print.
- Blot the paper and keep it close at hand just prior to printing
- Brush the adhesive in a THIN layer on the back of the chine collé paper and place it glue-side up on the plate in the proper place.
Traditional adhesives include potato starch, arrowroot paste, methylcellulose, and PVA (polyvinyl acetate which is an archival glue similar to Elmers or other all-purpose white glues, but it is more flexible and will not crack or harden with age). Use a soft brush to apply liquid adhesive in a THIN coat.
-Quickly place your full sheet of paper on top of the plate. If you wait too long, the glued pieces may dry out.
-Run the entire packet through the press at a normal pressure (some printmakers prefer a notch more pressure, but be aware this could lead to glue oozing out the sides of the chine colle paper and obliterating the areas that should print with ink

As with all printmaking techniques it is helpful to practice the technique a few times to get a sense of the specific materials you are using as paper thickness and absorbencies vary widely and will require different treatments. 

On critique day, you will have ten minutes to get ready before we begin. 
- Make sure you have identified your prints in pencil.  On the bottom left of the image, identify each print with a fraction, the number of the print over the number in the suite.  Put the title in the center.  Put your name or signature on the bottom right of the image.

This assignment will be scored based on 3 criteria.  These criteria will be weighted and assessed as follows:
1. Concept: 5 Points. 
Interpretation and application of your own ideas to the assignment using expressive, emotive, and aesthetic elements.  
2. Participation: 5 Points. 
Attendance, involvement with your group, putting in time in the shop, proper shop etiquette, participation in discussions and critiques. 
3. Process: 10 Points. 
Display an understanding of the process, making an edition of consistent prints, registration, and general neatness of the work. 

- The complete assignment is an edition of prints and an artist's statement.  Incomplete assignments will continue to loose points for lateness until everything is turned in.

- Failure to turn in a statement with your prints will cost you a letter grade.
- You will loose up to a letter grade if you have fingerprints or smudges on the image side of your prints. 
- Prints turned in or hung after critique begins will be considered one day late and you will loose a letter grade. 
- You will loose a letter grade if you fail to properly identify your prints.