Thursday, 9 March 2017

Pasta Anybody?

Not quite the day at the press that I had promised myself. I haven’t got an image prepared yet so a trip to Salford seemed a bit of a waste of petrol.

However I did get ink onto paper. Yesterday I think I may have agreed to give a demonstration/workshop session at the Art Society. It won’t be until next year but I thought I should make sure that what I thought I would do was at least possible

I want to get people making collagraphs but for that
 I need a portable press. I vaguely remembered someone somewhere mentioning using a pasta maker.

I thought today I’d better have a play and see if I can make it work. I also need to keep costs down, so using recycled materials as much as possible is the idea. And it’s only a two hour session, including tea break, so clean up needs to be fast and easy.

The plate and ‘press bed’ has to be flexible to pass through the pasta maker. I thought I could use a laminated postcard (used teaching resources) for the press bed and an old (as in destined for the bin not as in antique) photograph for the plate.

I cut and stuck shapes onto the photo using masking tape, magic tape and sellotape, overlapping some elements, and I scored the card with a scalpel to give an incised line. I wasn’t bothered about the design I just wanted to see if it would work. I inked up using scrap card and Calligo safewash ink and wiped using newspaper (no scrim to keep costs down).
I made a stack of the laminated postcard, a sheet of scrap paper, the plate and damp cartridge paper, and wrapped tissue round it to help it hold together in the ‘press’.  I laid two layers of craft felt on top and carefully fed the whole thing through the press.

I had it set on number 4 for the first print but it was a bit of a struggle to get it through
I re inked and tried Number 3 for the next one, the background isn’t as dark but it seems to have printed ok
I had meant to use the shiny photo side to get a white background but stuck the first shapes on the back by mistake. It has a satin finish and has printed as grey which I quite like.

Now I’ve established that it will work as a press I need to put some real thought into the image making.


  1. Brilliant! At last a use for the machine that has been on my top shelf for years. Thank you for showing us your experiments.

    1. I'll look forward to you posting your experiments with it

  2. Jac after reading your post it occurred to me that you might well find Colin Blanchard's blog VERY interesting. Do leave a comment there to encourage him to keep writing his blog.

    1. I've just had a look. Fantastic stuff.

  3. Jac,
    I have a dvd of an artist using the pasta maker for drypoint on plastic. Let me know if you want to borrow it.

    1. Yes please. I think you have my address from a print swop but if you can't find it if you contact me through my website I can e mail it to you.


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