The set of Akua water-based inks I ordered arrived a few days ago, then the Japanese baren and supply of Dan Xuan paper also arrived, so I spent a fascinating day over the weekend, in my makeshift home print studio, playing with them and trying out different ideas.
For consistency and to aid measuring the results, as with previous experiments I did with the sample Carbon Black ink, I tried using both dry and damp papers of different types and used the same collagraph plates and found the damp paper produced consistently better results. This time I also tried mixing some inks and tried rubbing the ink into the entire plate, as with Intaglio, to see how that compared with the prints from ink-based inks through the etching press at UCLan. The results were surprisingly similar, especially considering I was not using an etching press and that these plates are now fairly worn.
Continuing the experiments in brushing ink onto the collagraph plates, Japanese style, I then printed with the baren and the results on Somerset paper, damp and dry are rather nice although the Hahnemuhle Etching is a bit too textured. The best results were with using the Dan Xuan paper which, especially when using the baren, come out beautifully. I love this more intuitive way of working, where you really do feel your way around the plate firstly by brushing on the ink and then by hand with the baren during the printing. This process just feels right and fits nicely with my work ethos and the themes around which I work, so I think I now know which path I am taking.