White Ground Etching workshop

During this hectic and unsettling time as we move house, I’ve managed to squeeze in a printmaking workshop to soothe my soul.    Last weekend  was spent “off Island”  in Hobart participating in a white ground etching workshop with Iona Johnson at Hunter Island Press.  A fabulous workshop and steep learning curve as always gleaned from teachings by Iona.   White ground etching (soap ground etching)  is a technique that can be use to create organic printed marks of varying tonal depth.   I have been trying to “loosen up” and become more painterly with my mark making and introduce tone to my work  so I think that this will be a method that I will experiment with and use frequently in my printmaking.  I can imagine  my usual prescise line drawings against energetic, spontaneous, organic, tonal backgrounds.   I am also drawn to this method  as it is less toxic than traditional etching using nitric acid.   We used copper plates as our substrates and white ground as the resist.  We also aquatinted our plates with spray paint and etched them with Edinburgh Etch which is a ferric chloride & citric acid solution.  The white ground resist is a combination of soap flakes, linseed oil, titinium white pigment and water.  The white ground breaks down during the etching process and creates irregular tones.   What a fascinating process with so many possible outcomes and huge scope for experimentation.    Thanks to Iona, Steph and John for another great HIP workshop.

 An interesting Web Link:  Article on White ground etching by Frank Cassara

(If you move you cursor over my photos, there is a brief description of each & you can click on them for a larger view)

Looming entanglement II

Looming Entaglement II  –  Steel plate Etching / aquatint  – edition of 20

Commercial fishing practices are a constant threat to sea birds.  Globally, thousands of seabirds are killed in each year when they become hooked or become entangled in commercial fishing nets.   My first etching with aquatint “Looming entanglement II” speaks of this threat to our seabirds. 

I’m still trying to get my head around aquatint and the fact that you are adding the light to create tonal values – working in reverse again  as in many printmaking processes.  This is definately a technique that I want to explore further and after bin diving last week to “rescue” some steel plate – I am excited about creating more etchings using the aquatint method on my newly acquired plates !