Monday, May 15, 2023


Etching of mother applying sunscreen to daughter's nose as a giant wave breaks behind them

Etching 21/2" x 4"

I did some etching way back in my school days and always wanted to get back into it, but didn't have the space or money for a full sized press. I recently acquired this adorable Open Press (about 3" x 9" bed) and started investigating non-toxic etching techniques.

Tiny Open Press etching press with copper plate on bed.

 I took a workshop at Zea Mays, a world-renowned center for non-toxic print making, and have been experimenting with etching using BIG ground, ferric chloride etchant, and Akua inks. I've been able remove the ground and ink using a mixture of Bon Ami powder and soy sauce - no volatile solvents. You still have to take reasonable precautions with the ferric chloride, but it's definitely safer for you and the environment than the traditional acids and asphaltum ground.

Tube of BIG etching ground and brayer

Akua ink and Mag Mix with glass inking plate.

I made a vertical etching tank from a Mrs. Meyers hand soap container with a slot cut to lower the plate into the ferric chloride by a length of packing tape.

alt="Vertical etching tank made from small soap container, with copperplate being lowered through slot into ferric chloride"

This etching used a combination of hard ground, soft ground and drypoint techniques as well some scraping and burnishing where I screwed up.

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