~ Frank Stella
|Finished print on drying rack|
One of the classes I'm taking this summer is a printmaking class. Printmaking has always fascinated me, but I've only had the chance to dabble in linoleum block printing and that was a few years ago, so I jumped at the opportunity to explore printmaking more.
Currently we are making intaglio (pronounced in-tahl-yo) prints, an Italian word for etchings or engravings which in its essence means "to cut into". In a nutshell, an image is cut into a copper or zinc plate, ink is applied and then cleaned off, leaving a residue in the cut areas. When damp paper is placed on top of the plate and forced into these cut areas by the pressure of the printing press, the ink transfers onto the paper and creates a print of the image. If a plate is cut into by hand, the process is known as engraving. If the plate is cut into by acid, the process is known as etching. In my class, we're using acid!
Here's the etching printmaking process, step-by-step. You may recognize the image I'm etching from a shell drawing in a previous post.
|Ready to begin the etching process!|
|Rolling on the acid resist.|
|A printmaking sandwich.|
|The first reveal.|
|The acid bath is in an enclosed booth with ventilation and glass shields.|
|The post-bath plate|
|The squeaky-clean plate|
|Inked and ready|
|The amount of pressure this press can generate is mind-boggling|
|The big reveal!|
I'm really enjoying intaglio printmaking, but obviously this is not something I'd do in my home studio. Somehow I don't think our landlord would be too keen on the whole acid bath thing.