Etching, NZ Style

After our success with drypoint, we are moving on to etching this week...

Etching plates can be adorned with simple mark-making or elaborate drawings.
Try to make it in your own style rather than expecting to replicate a Durer etching!

Andrea Mae Miller, Three Kite III, 2005
Bamboo etching, 40x50cm, edition of 3

There are may different grounds you want to experiment with;
hard ground is great for line drawings,
soft ground makes textures easy,
'sugar lift' for a reverse block out (great for brush marks),
crayons for textured drawn lines, or spraypaint for a speckled effect, etc
(also, any permanent markers work well if using the aluminium & copper sulphate process).

Elaine Mayer, XX
Etching, 28x38cm, edition of 5

The plate is then added to a corrosive liquid to 'eat away' the exposed areas.
Traditionally this was done with nitric acid on zinc or copper,
however, there are other methods such as the copper sulphate mordant on aluminium
which is outlined in Mark Graver's Non-Toxic Printmaking book.
Mark Graver, Nympheas III, 2009
Etching, 69x106cm, edition of 5 

Tones are created by adding an aquatint.
Traditionally this was very fine rosin dust,
though now many of us prefer the convenience of a spraypaint
(or exposing to a a stochastic dot screen if using solarplate).
Tone can also be printed in colour.

Anna Dalzel, Light Through Manuka, 2011
Etching & aquatint

Marian Maguire, Pseudopanax Achilles Penthesilea, 2001
Etching, 53x64cm, edition of 20

Gretchen Albrecht, Chinese Rose, 2008
Etching, 56x76cm, edition of 10

The entire plate can be immersed, with grounds covering areas to keep white.
I made this basic sample below using a vinyl-cut stencil as the resist.
After initially etching the outline for half the time required for full black tone,
I then removed the shapes from the bottom of the diamond in stages
and etched it incrementally to create the graduated tones.

You can also brush on the mordant/acid in specific areas for painterly effect
(This is called 'spit-bite', and can be diluted for a watercolour effect if desired)

Consider the way you ink up the plate.
Perhaps try a combination of intaglio inking and roll-up a different colour over the top.

Struan Hamilton, Azzo
Viscosity etching, 30x30cm

If you are after a photographic-style image,
you can screenprint the ground down, or use a solarplate instead.

Lynne Taylor, Crossing Over,  2012
Intaglio, 40x44cm, edition of 8

Consider combining elements together from seperate plates
to make diptyches or multi-plate arrangements.

Jacqueline Aust, Ronaki, 2003

Fleur Williams, Homebody, 2010
Etching and mezzotint, 30x60cm, edition of 10
And if you want areas of block colour then perhaps try 'chine collĂ©' (basically meaning 'tissue + paste')
Coloured tissue or fine japanese papers are cut or torn
 then placed on an inked up plate to provide a solid coloured area
A little glue on the top means the tissue will stick to your main paper support when put through the press.

Alex Milsom, Untitled, 2010
Etching and chine colle

Etching is such a vast topic that it can't all be covered in this post, but it is a lot of fun!
My next project will be to explore etching using a metal router to reproduce a digital image.
I'll keep you updated on my experiments when complete.
Has anyone else used this medium that wants to share some info or ideas??