I started to explore. I’d like to etch for this book and have rather a lot of 10cm square aluminium plate (it seemed a good idea when I bought it) which is a starting point
The initial thought was to combine the idea of life within the church yard with reminders of the dead. I have this vague idea of using different weights of paper, possibly transparent or translucent papers, interleaving other print methods with the etchings.
But first I wanted to experiment with etching. I decided to use a butterfly motif, set amongst the grass. I started by masking out the butterfly and using straw hat varnish to progressively mask out the grasses. The new copper sulphate solution was a bit more lively than I anticipated and although I like the appearance of the plate (it has bitten in steps) it doesn’t print well even on heavyweight paper.
Cutting the etching time, the butterfly on a plain ground was more successful. Still a bit over bitten but white acrylic paint printed onto the plate from embossed wallpaper worked better than I expected.
Back to the grasses and I tried using acrylic ink as a resist. I found that it’s much easier to make a painterly mark with this than the varnish. It also stood up to etching quite well. It gave a partial resist where the ink was thinner and a complete resist where it was thick.
This was much better. I decided to ‘add’ the textured butterfly. A mistake, although it etched OK it was too similar to the ground, neither read very well.
Scrapping and burnishing took the wings back a bit and put more detail into the body. I’m not completely happy with it but I’ve learned a lot.