Martin’s Masterclass

Yesterday I went to a masterclass at Hot Bed Press. These are usually held monthly and yesterday’s was about Photo Carborundum. Martin Kochany, who ran the demonstration, is an experimental printer and often mixes different techniques together or finds new ways of applying them.

Carborundum, or magnesium carbonate, used to be used to resurface lithographic stones but nowadays is often used for collagraph printing. The PVA glue is painted onto a base material, often mountboard or Perspex, and the carborundum powder is sprinkled onto the glue. When dry, the plate is inked up and the rough surface holds on to the ink and produces a strong print.

Martin’s variation was to use a photoscreen to apply the ‘glue’ which was Titanium White acrylic paint/ink with standard screen printing medium. He said that printing medium by itself was not robust enough. Different colours had been tried but Titanium White was found to be the best.




Martin printed the white acrylic ink onto an old metal etching plate. He then sprinkled the carborundum powder onto the plate. He said it would have been ready to use in about twenty to thirty minutes. In answer to a question, Martin said that any image which can be used for a ‘normal’ print can be used for a carborundum print.



Once dried, the loose powder is removed with a soft brush. Martin however decided to do a Blue Peter and used a plate he’d prepared earlier. The plate was a ‘failure’ as an etching, as far as Martin was concerned, but was a good basis for further experimentation. He’d photoscreen printed a half tone image of clouds with the white ink onto the top part of the plate and then applied some ink to the bottom with his fingers.


Martin inked up the plate with red at the bottom and blue for the rest. He wiped the plate with scrim and tissue as normal. There was a relief area from the original etching process to which he applied a roll over of black ink.



Martin printed the plate onto damp paper on a standard etching press.



The final print was pleasing (in my opinion – Martin can always find faults with his work!) and I intend looking at the technique. I particularly like the suggestion made at one point to screenprint onto Perspex then adding linework as drypoint.




About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
This entry was posted in Art, Artists, Print, Printmaking, screenprinting, Techniques and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Martin’s Masterclass

  1. Fascinating process! I like the idea of experimental printing…never considered it, but would love to attend a workshop and give it a try.

    • If you’re near Salford then Hot Bed Press is the place, but where ever you are, I’m sure there is an open access print studio near you who will be running courses. Alternatively we sometimes have typewriter art and artist books courses. Perhaps one of your poems could become a unique artist book or folded paper art work or maybe ……

  2. seascapesaus says:

    Very well explained and photographed John. I almost feel I was there.

  3. seascapesaus says:

    I always thought there was something gritty about print-making.

  4. paperstew says:

    A very interesting process and it makes me want to give it a try. Thanks for the great information John! Always good to hear about different processes! 🙂

  5. clinock says:

    So much about printmaking has remained a mystery to me – this was enlightening – thanks John…

    • There are certainly many different printing methods just as painting in oils is different from watercolours. But one thing they have in common -they are fun! – provided things are going well! If you get a chance to indulge, grab it!

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