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a collagraph printed by re-using materials from the atelier: tarlatan, carborundum, sandpaper, and thread (Noemí Carrau Gual)

Carborundum printmaking is a "collagraph "printmaking technique in which the image is created by adding light passages to a dark field. It is a relatively new process invented in the US during the 1930s by Dox Thrash, (a Black artist working in Philadelphia with the WPA[1]) that allows artists to work on a large scale. Normally, "cardboard or "wood plates are coated in a layer of "carborundum or "screen, and the lights are created by filling in the texture with screen filler or glue. Carborundum prints may be printed as "intaglio plates.

Carborundum was originally used by printmakers to grind down "lithography stones and is now used in collagraph prints to create gradients of tone and a sandy texture. It works because when the carborundum adheres to the plate the ink sits around it. It can be applied in a number of different ways:

To print a carborundum print, the surface is covered in ink, and then the surface is wiped clean with "tarlatan cloth or newspaper, leaving ink only in the texture of the screen or "carborundum. A damp piece of paper is placed on top, and the plate and paper are run through a printing press that, through pressure, transfers the ink from the recesses of the plate to the paper. Very large editions are not possible as a small amount of carborundum comes off every time it is wiped down.[2]



Contrast with "relief printing, and with "planographic printing techniques such as "lithography.


  1. ^ King-Hammond, Leslie. "Black Printmakers and the WPA". Black Printmakers and the WPA. Retrieved 19 February 2018. 
  2. ^ "Exhibition reviews" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-06-06. ["dead link]

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