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Sep 22, 2017
What is an etching
My etchings are handmade original prints. I almost always use copper for my etchings, when I have the finished drawing, I apply a thin coat of "ground" an asfalt based varnish, to my copper plate, through this ground I can draw the drawing with a sharp stylus, removing the ground as I draw, so the copper is open to the acid. The ferric chloride gets in to the lines and etches away the copper, you can feel with your fingernail the lines in the copper plate. I now have a simple line drawing on my plate, and go on to clean the copper plate again, to add aquatint. Aquatint is a rosin in powder form, that is applied to the copper plate in an aquatint box, the powder is made to swirl up, and the plate is put into the box, so the aquatint lands on it much like dust. Very carefully so as not to disturb the "dust" I heat the plate from underneath and the rosin melts into tiny tiny little globules. I now start the process of blocking out the areas I want very white, the copper goes in the acid, the acid can get in to the little areas between the globules and bite away the copper. I take the plate out from the acid, block more of it out, and when immersing it again, I will get a tone on the areas I have just blocked out, I do this for about 4 - 5 times, which is normal for me, and for every time, I get darker tones. When I am done, I remove the aquatint powder with alcohol...... and now I am ready to apply inks to the plate to print it. Once the plate is ready for printing, each print is inked up by hand, and then printed on an etching press, on to special printmaking paper. The paper needs to be damp so the press can transfer the paper into the line to pick up the ink, this also means that when you "feel" the etching, you should be able to feel the copperplate emboss, you should even be able to see the separate lines slightly embossed. Inking up the plate for each print of course means there are always small differences between the prints, making them original prints, rather than mass produced offset prints. The inks used are also especially made for etching, and are totally lightfast.
Each etching is printed in an edition, this means that the number you see in the left hand corner, for example 2/40, tells you this is the second print of an edition of 40 prints.
A/P and a number means “artists proof”, the very first prints from a new plate, artists are allowed 10 – 15% of the edition as artists proofs.
After the edition is done the plate is deliberately scratched so it can’t be printed from again.
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I use first class materials and only printmaking paper from known paper making houses. FAvorites are Hahnemuehle, Fabriano and Zerkall. Inks are all lightfast and of best quality. Etching inks from Charbonnel. Linocut blockprinting inks from Daler-Rowney (waterbased) and Cranfield (oilbased)
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