Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in the metal which can be printed multiple times. Etching is one of the earliest methods of creating multiple images for mass publication. In this case I am working with zinc plates submerged in nitric acid for varying durations in order to achieve lighter or darker lines.
Etchings exist as multiple prints – but are still each a one of a kind impression. With each new print I need to clean and ink up my plate, then buff the smooth metal surface free of ink, leaving ink only in the grooved etched lines. After soaking a cotton rag paper in water for at least an hour, and patting it dry – I run the plate and the paper through our etching press underneath felt mats, which creates each unique impression using 800lbs of pressure. When you look closely at your print you’ll notice the imprint the thickness of the plate stamped into the paper.
For this project I have created four unique editions of this piece – but this plate went through at least 6 dips into the acid. Each week I created a small run of just black ink prints, as well an edition of hand-tinted prints using watercolour, acrylic, and metallic paint. This allowed me to build real texture and depth into my etching, while refining and adjusting the image each week.
I’ve decided to call this etching plate ‘Growth’. Each piece is hand signed, numbered, and titled, and each hand tinted etching has it’s own unique sub-title based on the mood of the colours.