Thursday, 26 March 2015

Etching with caustic week 2

Week 2, and I didn't take many pictures, because I have a new phone which I can't work at all.

This week it was time to coat the plates covered with resist with caustic soda. By now the resist has dried. (No picture of this but here was the plate covered in resist.)

You leave the caustic soda overnight to bite into the plate.

Next week  we will print the plates, and Steve will show us how he washes the caustic soda off.  Apparently it turns the surface of the lino into sludge. Lovely.

Caustic soda is very toxic. You have to wear gloves, breathing mask to mix it, and eye protectors to apply it to your plate.

It has to be mixed in plastic containers with a plastic spoon or wooden mixer, as it reacts badly with metal.

You pour water into a container, and mix in two heaped tablespoons of the caustic soda. The container becomes hot, and gives off fumes at first (stand back and don't breathe them in).

Then you mix in wallpaper paste, to make it sticky.

Then brush it on to your plate with a nylon brush, in any manner or pattern that you fancy. The more you apply, the stronger the bite will be.

Steve leaves his plates in the bath overnight and washes it off the next day with water.

In the meantime, I took a quick proof of the key plate (this one won't have caustic soda on it) just to see how it's looking. The water is looking a bit clumsy to me. Will have to work on it some more.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Etched lino

I left the Fine Art course, and banned myself from taking any more courses for a while over the winter.

But now Spring has sprung, and I just couldn't help it. I signed up for a very exciting workshop in Etching Lino at ELP.

I'm a big fan of Steve Edwards work, check out his beautiful, large scale linos here
You really have to see them to appreciate them though. You can find his work at Greenwich Printmakers Gallery in Greenwich Market.

He has really evolved this method of etched lino, where you use caustic soda to eat into the lino, like the acid eats into the metal in etching proper.

When he showed us how he works in the studio, I was in awe of the complexity. He uses 8 plates per image, and layers and layers of different colours. No wonder they are so rich and beautiful, and the skies and water have such movement.

So, we have made a start.

Here are my two plates - one is going to have the key elements (boats and skyline), the other has a resist painted on it. (It needs to be quite thick to resist the caustic, at least two layers.) This is called Brunswick Black and you can get it from Intaglio Printmakers. 

Next week: etching the plates with caustic soda.