Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Test Rabbit

The final result of my etching test rabbit.
I forget how much work they can be!

Etching Demo

I have plans to make some new etchings but first I had to make up some new etching solution. I use FeCl since it is not very toxic and doesn't require ventilation, something rather difficult to achieve in my studio. Still I use goggles and gloves to protect myself. I then add citric acid (from lemons) which speeds up the etching process on the copper plates. It's called the Edinburgh Etch. I had no plans to do etchings in my studio because of the nature of the chemicals involved but through research, I found some great substitutes. I ordered a small kit of products from Lascaux a few years ago and have found them quite affective! I am determined to go non-toxic. Here is a little demo that I worked on this week to test my new Edinburgh etch:
(I hope it makes sense.)

From the back of an old copper plate, I removed some scratches with my burnisher.

I brushed some Lascaux backing resist on the back of the plate. This is to protect the back of the plate from the etching solution.
On the front of the plate, I brushed on the Lascaux hard ground and wait for it to dry.
I divided the plate into sections and then made timed etchings to check out how my new solution is working. I used my sharp etching needle to make marks on the plate through the hard ground. This exposed the plate, allowing the marks to be etched.
After etching the plate in the solution and removing the hard ground,  I printed it. You can see that I etched it in different increments from 1 minute to 180 minutes. I think it's working!

I wanted to make an etching of a rabbit so I worked the entire process again with a new plate, this time adding a dark water soluble ink on the top so that I could see my needle work better. It showed as shiney marks on the plate as the plate is exposed through the hard ground.  I worked the rabbit in 3 stages of etching, the 2nd stage shown here.

Phew! The final result is at the top!