Sleeping Girl Printing Plate
Friday, April 22nd, 2011
When making an etching, I used plates made of zinc with a paint-sealed backing. Then an acid-resistant ground was applied to the top surface of the plate, and a sharp tool was used to scrape away the ground, leaving portions of the plate exposed. Then the plate was put in an acid bath for a certain amount of time, pulled out, and the ground removed, leaving it ready to be covered in ink and printed onto paper, allowing me to create either an edition, or a single print of multiple images that was unique.
When the plate was left in the acid long enough to wear deep grooves in the plate, it’s called a deep bite etching. In this case, rather than the ink remaining in the grooves, it’s often rolled in a thin layer on top of the plate so that the grooves are left white, but still embossed into the paper.
This is an actual printing plate, which I’ve always felt made a work of art all by itself — I’m not sure I ever pulled a single print from it, but have displayed it on my bookshelf for all these years as is.
One problem with deep-bite etching is that it often leaves the edges of the plate quite sharp and etched as well, so you can end up cutting through your paper and the padding on the press if you’re not careful. You can see the textured edge below.
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Categories: Daily Art