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Technical Methods Week 12

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 pollyfilla it crumbled.

Above image print from etching plate and plaster



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.

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.

Above image etching print created using different mark resist, shellac and bichumin


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.

Above image created using wax and litho crayons as a mark resist


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

Above image created using marker pens and shellac as mark resisit


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.

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.

Above image engraving usinging hard ground

Below image engraving using soft ground

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.

Above and below images large Aqua tint plates

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. These two plates will be printed in January.

Sublimation printing further investigation

Today I want to do a test panel for a larger wall piece. I had hoped to create marks with the plaster tiles as I had done with textured wall paper and fabrics but the ink just absorbed into the plaster and I was unable to get any prints from it. I may try sealing it with French polish and see if sealing the plaster first enables me to get a print? Or I could do wax rubbings from the plaster impressions or from the buildings. I only wish I had thought of this earlier today. I’ve had to walk away from this process to find an obvious answer and I will now have to wait until January to resolve this.

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