Wendy Moss is a printmaker and collage artist. Her printmaking practice includes monotypes, solar prints, dry point, intaglio and silk aquatint prints. Collagraphy is her favorite media because it combines collage and printmaking. I wanted to interview her for this post because her prints are gorgeous. Visit her website and see printmaking galleries with images organized by technique and series.
FYI: The word collagraphy is derived from the Greek words koll or kolla, meaning glue, and the word graphy, meaning the activity of drawing. Collography combines collage and printmaking.
The image (above) is titled Breaking Out III, collagraph print, 22 x 30 inches. Notice the range of colors in this print. Creating this print requires a lot of talent and technique. Follow Wendy on Instagram. Email Wendy with questions about her works or her process.
The image (above) is titled Breaking Out IV, collagraph, 22 x 30 inches. It’s called a ghost print and shows a more delicate, lighter ink transfer because less ink remained on the plate. Moss says she typically pulls one ghost print, but sometimes pulls a 2nd or even a 3rd ghost print if enough ink remains on the plate.
The image above is Wendy Moss’ worktable in her NYC apartment. Notice it’s cluttered (or you may say, organized) with spools of string, thread, brushes, soft Q-Tips, pens, pencils, and a variety of glues she uses to create her collagraph print plates. The thread and string are a clue to her creative technique. Notice there’s a white cardboard collagraph plate in process with a drawing and paper “rays”. Notice a tiny image behind a spool of black thread. Wendy Moss says this image became a jumping off point for the collagraph series titled Breaking Out, but, when she started the series, she didn’t identify the artist, because she trimmed the name from the reproduction.
DRAWING with STRING and THREAD
Wendy Moss says she knew that string would be the perfect material to express lines and spirals when she constructed her collagraph plates. See the image above. Notice the gestural outlines in light pencil that turned into three spirals. Wendy Moss applied string and thread to articulate the lines. She glued handmade paper “rays” with embedded string that articulated squares and rectangles within the “rays”. She added fabric, wallpaper, duct tape, cut up a placemat and added a flattened bottle cap. She placed these materials over and under the string spirals to create a print matrix with depth, texture and complexity. The artist describes her work as abstract, gestural and tactile.
She uses string to creates a thick line and uses thread to create a very thin line, and says what she likes best is picking up the thread or string and moving it, then making it permanent by gluing it to the plate wherever she thinks it looks best. She says she is a great fan of the artist Paul Klee (Swiss-born German, 1879-1940), who said: “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.” Wendy Moss says her lines and spirals represent rebirth, wholeness, unity and change – ideas at the heart of her work. See her artist’s statement.
The next two images show Wendy Moss at the Manhattan Graphics Center (MGC) in NYC where she prints her collagraph plates.
In this image, Wendy Moss is holding up the print while it’s still on the press bed at MGC.
This image shows Wendy Moss at the Manhattan Graphics Center holding what is called a ghost print – it’s a 2nd print pulled from the collagraph plate. Notice the dimensional quality in this pale tonal grey print.
Wendy Moss shared an interesting backstory about the Breaking Out series: “Late one night, while working at MGC, a gentleman came up to me and inquired if I knew the artist Lee Bontecou, I replied, I did not. He walked away and returned with his iPad and showed me images of her work. Of course, once I discovered the artist who created the tiny image on the worktable was Lee Bontecou, I knew I would re-title my prints Breaking Out: Homage to Lee Bontecou.” The mystery of the unidentified print on the worktable is solved!
INKING a PLATE
Wendy Moss inks her collagraph plates with a stencil paint brush, applying ink to the entire surface. She works with Charbonnel Aqua Wash etching inks. As she inks and wipes the plate, she thinks about how the inked textures will translate and print onto the paper. The more texture there is on the plate, the more ink the plate will hold and transfer. If the surface is smooth, the ink will wipe clean, and this is how the values in a print range from light to dark.
I know there is an incredible art to inking plates, whatever the printmaking technique. The process is arduous because inking and wiping the plate takes a lot of time and energy. Wendy Moss is a master at inking and wiping her amazing collagraph plates. That’s why her prints are so appealing.
The image here was taken in 2019 at the Ceres Gallery in Chelsea, NY at an exhibition the gallery calls Exposure . Wendy Moss showed collagraph prints and collagraph plates together. Notice the 2 beautiful collagraph plates, above 2 framed prints, and on the far left. Wendy Moss’ collagraph plates are like low relief sculptures. They show a range of tones, colors and textures, even after multiple inkings for printmaking.
The image above is a monoprint with collage, titled Breaking Out VII, 30 x 22 inches (2019).
In this image, you see an earlier version of the monoprint (in the image above). Wendy Moss was working at the NY Studio School. Notice the stack of collagraph prints at the bottom of the image. Wendy Moss cut and glued part of the B&W collagraph on top of the monoprint.
If you are curious and want to learn more about all the technique involved in creating this monoprint, email Wendy and ask her.
COLLAGE and the SKETCHBOOK SERIES
Wendy Moss wasn’t able to print collagraphs in 2020 during COVID because the centers where she does printmaking – the Manhattan Graphics Center (MGC) and the Carter Burden Covello Center, where she was awarded a printmaking residency were closed. Instead, she worked in her apartment studio and created the mini collagraph plates, collages and small works in various sketchbooks.
The image above is part of the artist’s Sketchbook Series and is titled Sketchbook Miniature #2, collage/mixed media, 8 x 6 inches.
The image above is titled Sketchbook Miniature #9, collage/mixed media, 3 x 5 inches. Check out all the Sketchbook images here.
The image above shows 3 mini collagraph plates. Each began as a 4×4 inch cardboard plate, but the plates average 8 x 7 inches because the rays extend beyond the square. Wendy Moss plans to resume printmaking when the Manhattan Graphics Center and the Carter Burden Covello Center reopen (soon).
The image above is a new collagraph plate (not yet printed) titled Georgia O’Keeffe Meets Lee Bontecou. Moss selected this title because of the swirling lines she notices when she looks at some of O’Keeffe’s paintings. She will print this new work when Manhattan Graphics Center reopens.
Wendy Moss was born on Long Island, NY, attended the State University College in Potsdam, NY (her major was Studio Art; her minor was Psychology). She has an MA degree from Pratt Institute in Art Therapy and has worked as an art therapist. She took postgraduate classes at Parsons School of Design (textile design), and worked as a colorist. She took classes at the 92nd Street Y for collage, mixed media, painting, color theory, papermaking and transfers. Wendy Moss has studied with master printers, including Lisa Mackie and Beth Thielen. She lives in NYC and Claverack in Columbia, County, NY.
Check out wendylmoss.com to see all the images in all the various printmaking techniques. Recent exhibitions (2021) include “Cut Pieces” at the Emerge Gallery in Saugerties, NY, “Our Connection with Nature” at Gallery Sitka in Shirley, MA, the USPS Art Project, at InLiquid, Philadelphia, PA, and the virtual exhibition “Lost and Found” at the NY Artists Circle.
Please contact the artist with your questions about her works and her technique.