Printmaking with Salvaged Sticky Back Aluminium Foil, Mixed Media and Cardboard

By Sheila Ceccarelli

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the National Scrapstore Conference in Stoke-on-Trent initiated by Reuseful UK an inspirational social enterprise which brings together 96 scrap stores nationally.

Reuseful UK Scrap Swap

 

I met inspiring people, motivated to make a difference and enrich entire neighbourhoods by offering their communities resources and often creative and cultural activities as well, whilst at the same time salvaging and re-distributing materials which would otherwise be landfill.

'Scrap' is organised and what was once waste becomes a valuable material or resource available to be transformed into a myriad of creative and community activities.

What's more,the excess of a certain material leads to creative explorations for its use beyond that of its original design or intention, as experienced by the Community Scrap Shack in Stoke-on-Trent when they received the most unmanageable supply of sticky back foil from Bostik.

Aluminium sticky back foil saved from land fill by Michelle and team at the Scrap Shack
Aluminium sticky back foil saved from landfill by Michelle and team at the Community Scrap Shack

 

Michelle and Sue at the Community Scrap Shack shared their story of how they received and manged an overwhelming shipment of foil and all the creative applications for it that they have since come up with. Do have a look at the Community Scarp Shack's Facebook Page to see their sticky back foil saga.

They kindly gave me some rolls - I said that I had an idea for it that I wanted to explore with teenagers at AccessArt's Experimental Drawing Class.

So by way of a long introduction, this is how I came across sticky back aluminium foil and this is what we did with it this week - I have a feeling that it will be featuring on AccessArt for a while to come and I hope that Michelle and her team at the Community Scrap Shack will share some of their ideas for it too!


 

When I saw Michelle and Sue's idea of sticking foil over pipe cleaners to create embossed designs, it reminded me of print plates from art school days.

I've done a lot of printmaking with teenagers but never tempted making colographs on account of glue not drying and not having access to a printing press - the sticky back foil seemed like a perfect way to build up textures on a card plate and be able to hold all the elements together. The foil is thin enough that textures of components under it get picked up beautifully.

A piece of cardboard with sticky back foil over pipe-cleaners
A piece of cardboard with sticky back foil over pipe-cleaners

 

We Used:

  • Cardboard (an old box)
  • Assortment of textured materials (most from scrap stores): lace, netting, string, pipe-cleaners, plastic string, washing line, nylon net bag etc.
  • Sticky back aluminium foil (Bostik) from the Community Scrap Shack, Stoke-on-Trent
  • Brian Clegg block-printing ink (black)
  • Basic printing rollers
  • Acetate (as a palette to roll the ink out on)
  • Two drawing boards and thick plastic sheeting (scrap store)
  • A car (seriously!)

A roll of sticky-back aluminium foil from the Scrap Shack in Stoke-on-Trent
A roll of sticky back aluminium foil from the Community Scrap Shack in Stoke-on-Trent

 

More materials from various scrap stores
More materials from various scrap stores

 

This was a rough and ready session - just the absolute print-making basics, and I hope that colleague print-makers, who are more perfectionists in their approach are not too appalled by the speed at which we worked and the level of quick experimentation!

This session all happened in an hour and a quarter and was one of the funnest Experimental Drawing sessions ever!

Teenagers stuck down textures onto a piece of cardboard
Teenagers placed textures onto a piece of cardboard creating designs

 

Here a student used thick plasticated string to build up a design on cardboard
Here a student used thick plasticated string to build up a design on cardboard

 

Students used the sticky back aluminium foil to hold the textured design in place on the cardboard
Students used the sticky back aluminium foil to hold the textured design in place on the cardboard

 

And used the back of scissors to pick up textures under the foil
And used the back of scissors to pick up textures under the foil

 

Here the plate ready for print
Here the plate ready for print

 

Colograph plate made with string, cardboard and sticky back Aluminium foil
Colograph plate made with string, cardboard and sticky back aluminium foil

 

Cardboard and aluminium foil 'plate' ready for print
Cardboard and aluminium foil 'plate' ready for print

 

Students 'ink up' their plates
Students 'ink up' their plates

 

Preparing the roller by rolling and working a thin layer of ink onto acetate
Preparing the roller by rolling and working a thin layer of ink onto acetate

 

And then 'inking up' the plate
And then 'inking up' the plate

 

Rolling ink onto the plate
Rolling ink onto the plate

 

A plate ready for print!
Plates ready for print!

 

And this was the fun part!

With no traditional printing press available, we decided to use my car as a press. Students laid their cardboard/foil plate onto a drawing board with damp paper carefully laid over that and sandwiched between two pieces of thick plastic sheeting - they then laid a second drawing board over the lot.

Student lays a piece of damp paper over her inked up plate on a drawing board sandwiched in plastic
Student lays a piece of damp paper over her inked up plate on a drawing board lined with a plastic sheet

 

Damp paper carfully laid over the plate
Damp paper carefully laid over the plate

 

Plastic sheeting on the paper
Plastic sheeting on the paper

 

Board over the lot
Board over the lot...

 

And that's me driving!
And that's me driving!

 

Al the way...
All the way...

 

Over the plate and back again!
Over the plate and back again!

 

And the print is revealed!
And the print is revealed!

 

A 'cardboard-sticky-back foil - car print' revealed!
A 'cardboard-sticky back foil-car print' revealed!

 

And another!
And another!

 

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

 

And over we go!
And over we go!

 

And a print revealed!
And a print revealed!

 

Print and plate
Print and plate

 

And again!
And again!

 

Print revealed!
Print revealed!

 

And another one!
And another one!

 

A used, rolled over plate
A used, rolled over plate

 

And the print
And the print

 

Finished print by Reid
Finished print by Reid

 

Finished print my Ingo
Finished print by Ingo

 

Finished print by Ben
Finished print by Ben

 

Finished print by Shona
Finished print by Shona

 

Shona's plate
Shona's plate

 

Finished print by Cass
Finished print by Cass

 

Prints and a plate
Prints and a plate

 

End of a busy session! Thank you for helping me tidy up:)
End of a busy session! Thank you for helping me tidy up:)

 

Prints and plates at ArtWorks Studios Cambridge by AccessArt's Experimental Drawing Class
Prints and plates at ArtWorks Studios Cambridge by AccessArt's Experimental Drawing Class

 

A big thank you to teenagers at AccessArt's Experimental Drawing Class for your enthusiasm and willingness to experiment.

A huge thank you to Michelle and her colleagues at the Community Scrap Shack for encouraging us all to experiment and see the potential in waste materials. You are truly inspiring woman!


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