I etched two plates at the recent course at Swansea Print Workshop with Andrew Baldwin of Trefeglwys Print Studio, one aluminium, one copper. I’ve just done a first proof from the copper plate. I used a hardground and the traditional technique of drawing into it with an etching needle than adding aquatint. Andrew demonstrated how to do aquatint using his non-toxic B.I.G. process which involved putting the grounded plate through the etching press with a piece of emery paper face down on top of the ground. This cuts tiny holes into the ground which will etch as an aquatint. I did several dips into Ferric Chloride, ‘stopping’ out areas as I went along to develop the different tones.
Then I cleaned the B.I.G. ground off the plate, dried it and inked it up to take the first proof. It’s paler than I wanted it, possibly I needed to etch it for longer, possibly it’s a result of using a very soft ‘drypoint’ ink with a soft Somerset paper. I need to try another proof with a heavier, stiffer ink to see if it makes a difference, otherwise I’m going to have to do some work on the plate.
Andrew Baldwin’s new book comes out in October in conjunction with the opening of the ‘BIG Exhibition’. The book will give step by step guides to all the processes that can be used with BIG. The call for entries for the exhibition is open from 1st June and is open to all who have made prints using BIG. All entries should first be sent to Andrew via firstname.lastname@example.org. The exhibition will open at The School of Art in October and then travel to other galleries in UK before going over to USA.
The subject is the King’s Quoit stone monument at Manorbier in Pembrokeshire. I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.