Saturday, 16 April 2016

Gum Arabic and Etching

Last weekend I went on a course to learn about etching copper using ferric sulphide. Although I didn’t produce anything worth showing it did make me want to start etching again. Using these materials means quite long bite time and at the moment I only get two or three hours a week at Hot Bed Press so I decided to revisit aluminium and copper sulphate etching. It’s quick biting and the plus side of the granular nature of aluminium means it doesn’t need an aquatint for tonal work. (The minus side means it’s not as sharp as copper but you can’t have everything)

For a long time I’ve wanted to incorporate text in my work. I’m probably not going to start using letterpress (though the process and feel of it does intrigue me) so etching seems like a good avenue to explore.
I’ve used Press n Peel in the past to apply text printed on a laser printer as a resist but it sets very hard on the plate and is difficult to remove. This means it isn’t easy to work into the plate after application. It's also expensive. A while back I'd read about using gum arabic transfer to produce a resist on metal so thought I’d have a go.

First a gum arabic print just to check that the materials and methods would work on paper.
Next printing onto plate

 The etched plates
And finally the prints

It needs refining. I left the dark text plate in the gloop a bit too long so it started to eat through the resist and even though you can print gum arabic onto paper using a tonal image the metal plate needs strong black and white contrast to etch properly but I’m looking forward to pushing this further.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Mainly collagraphs and books.

What happened to March?

Well, I’ve been experimenting with different materials to see what new effects I could get. Given my interest in buildings as a motif I’ve been looking at trying out stuff for stonework.
Tile cement works well when you want a dark wall but I’m trying to combine my collagraph plates with monoprints. I needed something that would hold line and some textural marks but not be too dark overall so that the underlying colour would show through.
I’ve ended up with the plain mountboard for dressed stone and acrylic paint for the rougher textured walls. The plate needed areas of selected varnishing (rather than just straightforward coats applied over the whole areas) as the painted areas needed a lot less varnish than the other parts of the print.

I also signed up for the next book swop.  The brief is “Recycled/ Folded/ Colour”(any or a combination of the three - so far I don't think I'm using colour), A6, any appropriate structure. I’ve been working through ideas.

I came up with several that I liked including a shell like book and a book that opens on all four sides of the cover (it’s so simple I’m sure someone else must have done this but I don’t remember seeing it anywhere). The problem was they worked well in the roughs at a small scale but at the right size in the paper I wanted to use they were too floppy to support themselves.

 I will return to these books later but for this edition I have decided to combine Hungarian map folds with a folded accordion structure. I’m using hard backed books from the charity shop for the covers and most of the paper and adding pages made of recycled tissue paper that I have used between prints when drying under pressure.

The design still needs tweaking, I need to work out how to close it, what end papers and how to seal the edges of the cover boards. No art work to do but an awful lot of folding, sewing and sticking.