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Printmaking: Aquatint, Etching on Paper.
Original etching on somerset Paper
Etching Plate is 29cm x 24cm / 11.5 x 9.5 inches
Paper size approx 57cm x 38cm / 22.5 x 15 inches
All etchings are hand inked and pulled by me using traditional printmaking techniques.
The term etching can cover a variety of techniques, but usually refers to the corrosion of a metal plate using acid to produce a line. My etchings follow a very traditional method.
Preparing the plates.
I clean my copper plate using ammonia and whiting to remove all the grease, i then paint sugar lift on to each plate to create the images i want to etch. A liquid varnish is then poured over the design and once that has set, i rub away the sugar lift solution. I am then left with the line i have created with the sugar lift. I am then ready to aquatint my plate.
Here i am using the aquatint to create my etching. I apply a fine dust called rosin made traditionally from pine resin to each plate. A cloud of resin is created in a large box using a paddle, then as the fine dust falls I put in my plates. Like snow, the resin settles on to the copper and without disturbing the dust the plates are removed from the box. Using a blow torch to heat the under side of the metal, the resin is melted onto each plate. When the plates are placed in the acid bath, the unprotected copper is eaten away, leaving the tiny protected dots of the aquatint untouched. The longer the plate is left in the acid, the darker the tint.
Taking the print.
I then work ink into the grooves left on the plates by the etching process. I ink my plate and then with a muslin cloth the excess ink is wiped off, leaving the ink only in the grooves. Placing the inked copper plate face up on the printing press, pre dampened paper is carefully laid on top then layers of felt. This sandwich is then forced between two steel rollers. The paper is pushed in to the grooves at such a force it pulls out all the ink. There is nothing better than revealing the finished print.