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AP1 Sketch Book December

Printing into plaster and making a 3D object

I’m going to try and print into plaster again, Gay is still off, so I’m just experimenting. I’ve decided to try and create a 3D plaster print and see if I get better results then my 2D plaster print.

I inked up my four etching plates and prof printed them on newsprint, the results were not that good which was a surprise, as nearly all my prints heave worked on newsprint because it’s so smooth and absorbent.


Above image test prints on news print


I re inked the plates and stuck all four together to make a mould. I filled this with fine casting plaster but it leaked all over the place, I realised the ink had weekend one of my seals, so I re sealed my plate and mixed more plaster, I found another rusty plate to use as the base and filled the mould and left to set.


Above image Etched plaster


I like how the print has transferred so clearly onto the plaster, especially after the disappointing results I had on paper.

I know this piece is not perfect, it leans over to the side, which makes it slightly unstable but ascetically I feel this piece works. It’s rustic in appearance with areas of plaster and print missing because I didn’t clean the old plaster off the plate before casting but all these things add to the piece, it’s my favourite to date.

I also really like the way may etching plates have bits of plaster stuck to them, from the first failed attempt.

Distressing etching plates

I decided I liked the effect of the plaster running down my etching plates, so I added a bit more, I left to dry and sealed it with button polish. I then inked one of them up and printed it on the etching press. The results were not as interesting as I had hoped, I thought I may get the etching marks combined with the collagraph technique using plaster but because I’d used plaster and not polly filla it crumbled.

So I’m going to do something else with the other three plates. I want to create a cube out of plaster for each of the printing plates, this cube will hold the plates up on display for people to touch.


Above image distressed etching plates using plaster and fibrocem


Experimenting with grounds & printing

I still feel I would like to know more about etching so I’m going to experiment with things that create mark resists to the acid.

I had 8 test plates and I tried different combinations on each, I loved how the diluted Bitumen and shellac repelled each other, this created really interesting marks on the plates that kept changing shapes until the solutions dried. The patterns it created reminded me of rust, I would like to use this combination on a large plate.

I also tried litho crayons and wax crayons, if I was carful with the application of the litho crayon I could pick out all the faults in the metal plate, working with the materials own natural patterns and marks, which I had not been able to see before.

I also tried different marker pens, which enabled me to create crisp lines in contrast to the fluid marks made with the shellac.

I etched all my plates for 25 minutes, the first thing I noticed was that I had lost some of the marks made with one of the finest pens, the other pen however has left a beautiful crisp mark.

After cleaning the plates with white spirit then mentholated spirit I printed the plates, I only got through the first one because my paper kept sticking to two areas of the plate. I thought it was because these areas were particularly course but the technician thinks there may still be a little shellac on the surface, so I re cleaned the plate and will try printing them again.

Above images experimenting with different grounds


Etching skills session plus printing

During the Etching skills session, I applied hard and soft ground on two separate plates, I smoked the hard ground with a candle, this hardened the ground and made it a warm black which provides high contrast to the plate. I then worked into the surface with different tools.

I learnt that with the soft ground when first applied to your plate, it will take impressions well ( finger prints, leaves, textured fabric etc) you can also lay a sheet of paper onto your plate and draw and the ground will once again take this impression. When I tried this technique I didn’t think it had worked it looked to subtle but when I took it out of the nitric acid the drawn lines were etched nice and clear.

This skills session has opened up ways for me to turn my drawings into etchings and take impressions of my surroundings, this will give my etchings a much softer look.

Large aquatints

I want to increase the scale of my etchings, I love working small scale but I’ve wanted to increase the scale of my work for a long time, I’m going to start with A3 and then go up from there.

Today I created two A3 etchings using the Bitumen silk screen process I learnt earlier in this module. After today I feel confident aquatinting my own plates and I tried a variation of times, this has helped me understand that the longer it’s in for the finer the aquatint.

I also prefer the high contrast that plates have when you don’t aquatint them and I feel the acid eats further into the plate offering more contrast.

I often display my plates for people to touch, so getting the balance right for a good print and physical interaction is really important to me.

Above images Aquatint plates

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