Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Etching introductory workshop

Yesterday we had our introduction to the etching studios. We were given copper plates that we learnt how to clean, put a thin layer of wax on, and treat with a taper to give a black sooty layer (not many photos as the process was quite involved and I just couldn't do it and take photos at the same time!).

We then carefully etched on our image using a sharp tool. I decided to do the lyrics to the Beatles song 'Blackbird' - this meant writing the whole thing back-to-front ...

After acid treatment for an hour and washing off the wax, we inked up the plate and made some initial test prints of just the line work. This is what the plate looked like just before printing. I haven't got a picture of the print as it's still in college, drying.

The plates are inked up over the whole surface, and then the bulk of the ink wiped off leaving only ink that's gotten into the cut grooves in the metal. How much you wipe off can also make a difference to the print. Here I've selectively wiped the moon more than the background; which in turn is more wiped than the blackbird.

Today we did aquatinting, which involved fusing a layer of fine powdered pine resin to the plate, then selectively blocking bits out and acid treating (giving gradual tones to the image). The image at the top is one of the final prints I did today, and just above is a closeup.

I must say that I was less pleased with the aquatinting than just wiping away selectively. The wiping left a streaky texture on the print that I really liked. Also the tinting can be quite hit-and-miss - like my non-tinted moon and lightest tint just outside the moon. They were much too close in tone to my liking and so I still had to manipulate how much ink I wiped away to get a decent tonal range. Still, enjoyed the whole learning process and can see myself trying more in the future. I'll hopefully add a few more pictures when I get my dried prints back and you can see what I mean by some of the things I've mentioned in this entry.

Today was, sadly, our last print workshop. Fortunately though, this means we're now 'induced' ('inducted'?) and can sign up to use the print workshops ANYTIME we want ... HOORAY!


AdamFF said...

look like you enjoyed your experience in the print centre!

caseytoussaint said...

That looks like so much fun - thank yo for taking us through the process, Mithi.

Kerstin Klein said...

The blackbird etching is beautiful - I guess specially because I like kind of dark stuff.

Anonymous said...

How great to be able to try so many different things.