Category: Collographs and Monoprints

When i first received the Professional Development Practice briefs in January i struggled to understand exactly what we needed to produce by the end of it.Part one of the brief was to create a blog, and to focus on issues such as ethics, sustainability and borders and boundaries with reference to working as a designer. This i could get my head around, and got to grips with the world of blogging quite quickly, as you can see (although i don’t think there will ever be a day when i can class myself as an expert blogger – but i muddle through!)

The second part asked you to choose one of the issues listed above and to create ‘something’ that put across that issue to the audience (our made up audience being the design museum in London). As a lot of my blogs have been about the issue of being’ inclusive’ within our work , i found that the topic of ethics would be the best one to go with. I do find that my list of ethics has grown and grown as i have got older, and inclusivity is something that i am very passionate about, and have always been within my work as a Teacher ( i still find it hard to sit in a ‘lecture style’ session where the Lecturer talks ‘at’ the audience, and only addresses ONE learning style – and all the Dyslexic students just have to like it or lump it!!)

As our assessment deadline has suddenly, for some strange reason, been brought forward a week, and now the stress levels are turned up, i really wanted to feel i was nearing the end with this project, and have worked very hard on it – only to be told by one tutor the other day that i had ‘gone too far with it, done too much work…..and totally ignored the design process!!!’ This comment came about as i tried to explain why i had produced 5 posters for my display and not just the one as i initially intended (even though i did mention that i had discussed this with a tutor and been advised to do more than one)

Therefore i will explain – step by step – why i decided to go down the route of creating multiple posters ……..

The journey began a couple of months ago when i visited an Art Gallery in Conwy, North Wales with my ten-year old son and my friend Karen..

The room was empty, except for us, and deathly quiet as if we had just walked into a morgue.You sort of had the feeling that you needed to whisper, as if you were in a Library and were going to be told off for making a noise – this i found to be quite ridiculous! There were a few paintings that caught my eye, and we stood and looked at them for a moment and discussed why we liked them very quietly, of course….. I remember thinking how quiet the room was, and how it could be enhanced by some sort of atmospheric music etc.I also noticed how bored my son was, even though he has a keen interest in Art. I became aware of how Art Galleries, in general, really do not interact with the audience at all ( although i have to say that the Tate can be an exception to the rule) is it any wonder that most of the galleries are empty, and children would rather pull their teeth out one by one than have to be dragged round one?

I also noticed that all of the work was paintings, under glass, half way up the wall…one after another….. we stood there with our arms folded, just looking, and when i saw one piece that was a little more textured i remember thinking how great it would be if i could have run my fingers over to feel the texture, and experience the painting.

When i came home i started to wonder what it must be like to be blind (it has always been my greatest fear) and how if i suddenly lost my sight i would no longer be able to experience any form of art ever again…

This set me off on my quest that Art needed to be inclusive, as at the moment it is often exclusive to those that have the benefit of sight. (If you look through the ‘PDP’ posts,and ‘Ethics and Sustainibility’ you will find other blogs that i have written on issues of inclusivity, and also an exhibition that i found in Australia that did actually cater for visually impaired people and encouraged them to touch the Art – but Australia is a long way to go..)

The statement i wanted to make was that  Art was for everyone, and so wrote my first poster saying – ‘Art is for everyone, not just for the ones that can see’, and then decided that i wanted to create the poster in Braille as well as  Typographically. This was no easy task, and i decided to create a Collograph plate in order to do it – using split peas and lentils.(i had changed the text by now to ‘Art is for everyone,  not just the ones that can read this!’)

 From this i created my paper Collograph (after serious discussions about whether or not the peas were going to rip through the expensive University Printing Press blanket……

I can’t say that the Collograph was really that successful as the press ‘popped’ the split peas as it went through, and then of course there was no more time to make another plate,but it was a good experiment, and gave a lovely textured feel, and an insight into reading Braille.

But i then thought that just producing a Braille poster in itself was being exclusive to those that could see, and i am always wary of ‘highlighting’ disability in a way that makes disabled people somehow different to all the rest, and that this statement should be inclusive to all, not just the visually impaired. So i then decided to create three more posters, so that the set was as follows:-

  1. Plain black and white text – for people with no disability.
  2. Braille poster – for visually impaired.
  3. A brightly coloured, distorted one that raises awareness about Irlens syndrome (which i suffer with myself and struggle to read black on white)
  4. An alternating red and green text poster that raises awareness about colour blindness.
  5. A textured, muted coloured poster, made with fur fabric, on rough board, that is totally inclusive of all abilities as it can be read, touched and read, and doesn’t affect those that have Irlens or Colour Blindness.

The posters are shown as follows:-

Black and white poster - suitable for those with no disability

Poster that affects us Irlens sufferers!


Poster that affects sufferers of Colour Blindness

Braille Poster - for the visually impaired

Inclusive, textured Poster - suitable for all abilities

The text in the poster is made from fur fabric and is raised, so that the letters can be touched and read.This time the posters wording has changed to show that now the Art is for everyone!

The last thing i need to do, which i will do tomorrow, is to display these posters in Uni, in a way that is also accessible for all. In order to do this the posters will be placed in a row, at a height that can be reached easily by the hands of any wheelchair users.I will then photograph the display and put the photo on my next blog (just in time for submission on Thursday!)

I have found this brief very interesting as it has taken me on a real journey of discovery. I have learned about what Art really is, and also learned about how our role as the designer is to make sure we offer our work in an inclusive a way as possible. There may always be some sector of society that cannot be addressed or represented through our work, but i think the aim here is so be of good intent, and to show that we can include all abilities in a natural and easy way, that doesn’t highlight disability, and make people feel disabled, but that recognises the fact that we all have an equal share on this earth, and need to be recognised as such.

So i hope i have answered the question to the tutor who thought i had done too much, and have maybe argued my case as to why it was necessary to include more posters in the display than just the one? If not……then what the hell…it works for me!! :0)

These collographs were created by Barbara Garrison, an award-winning children’s illustrator – and i can see why! I love the boldness of these images, and their apparent simplicity (but i’m sure they are not simple to create) a great change to the usual drawn image!

These Collographs are amazing!! Not your usual type, and that’s probably why they caught my eye.He uses a lot of things like masking tape in the process, and also cuts into the board a lot – amazing results!!

Fleeting - by Jet James

Ocean Water - by Jet James