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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Where Did You Get that Brush?

The trouble with big plates is that they take a lot of inking! My lecturer kindly lent me her collagraph brush to help me with inking my big plates. The brush works ink into all the little crevices of the textured plate. So it needs to have stiff bristles, tightly bound together. However the process also works ink into the brush and it takes some cleaning, first with a small amount of solvent, then with a paste of whiting powder and water. Also, I felt a bit cautious about using somebody else's tools, especially when I can't find a similar one anywhere locally to replace it if something went wrong. The only alternative suggested was to use a hard toothbrush. It turns out hard toothbrushes are not good for teeth and are no longer sold either. Besides, they are very small compared to the size of my plates. All of this to say, I was looking for an alternative. Here it is:

Enter the humble shoe brush! Short stiff bristles, easy to hold and apply pressure and only a few dollars from the hardware store. I bought a few, thinking that if they turn out to be difficult to clean thoroughly I can keep one for each colour. They've been working so well that I passed them out to my classmates to use. By the way, that rich brown is the colour of the intaglio ink before I applied the roll up to the wall plates.

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