Archive | 21:29

The Carved Elephant – A Drypoint Etching

27 Sep

elephant

I have been doing some printmaking at The Bagpuss Window, the temporary artspace in Swansea’s High Street, making a little edition of miniature drypoints (similar to etchings). I set up a printing area around the little etching press, with an inking table, a blotting table and a drying table. I measured and ripped 8 pieces of Bockingford 250gsm paper and put them into a bucket of water to soak. I like to leave them for at least an hour.

I started out with a small sketchbook drawing I made last year during my residency at the Zaira Zaka Print Studio in Pakistan, and redrew it with a soft drawing pen onto a piece of paper drypoint plate (from Intaglio Printmakers). Then I scratched into the drawing with a lot of cross hatching and mark-making, using a drypoint tool, although a 4 inch screw will do.

I used a little rubber squeegee strip to apply drypoint etching ink – it’s important to get the right ink, ordinary etching ink doesn’t work so well. I scraped across the surface to remove surplus ink with an old plastic card and removed a little more with some tissue, wiping the edges with a clean rag. It’s vital not to overwipe, it’s surprising how much ink you can leave on the plate – it doesn’t show up on the paper.

Then I gently blotted a piece of the paper between two sheets of kitchen roll with a small roller – just to remove surface water, not to dry out the paper – and placed it over the etching plate on the press bed, put some clean tissue on top, put the blankets over it and wound it through the press.  Then I dried it between sheets of tissue under a heavy board to stop it from wrinkling. You can get 6-8 prints from a paper drypoint plate if you’re fairly gentle.

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