Monday, February 16, 2009
Want To See My Etchings?
I know, it's a cliche... but I spent a very happy Saturday making etchings. I learned to etch several years ago, when we were still in Inverness, but it has taken til now to find somewhere offering a small, informal workshop. I managed, however, and this was a real trip down memory lane for me!
If you've never made an etching, the process is actually quite straightforward. You put a resist onto a copper plate, and then flame it, as you can see in the images, so that the resist turns a lovely black, shiny colour. That lets you see your marks as you make them. You then scratch a pattern into the resist, seal the back of the copper so that it doesn't get removed in the etching process, and finally leave the copper suspended in an acid bath for a specific length of time. The time will vary, according to how deeply you wish the bite to be. After rinsing off the acid, you ink the plate and run it through a press.
I managed to make three plates, two of them copper, etched with acid, and another scratched directly into a plastic surface. I was pleased with all of them, but the one in the image is my favourite, and I may well make a painting based on those shapes. You can see from the close up how fine the lines are in etching; it's a complete contrast for me, as my usual marks are large and bold. See what you think!