I have been looking forward to the ‘Masters’ masterclasses for some time. Anyone that knows me well will know how much I love to ‘upskill’. The ‘Masterclasses’ were a great opportunity to network with some very experienced artists and expand my own knowledge.
Sleigh’s research and portfolio are extensive, and her workshop was as enjoyable as it was informative. The aim of the workshop was to explore methods of drawing a composite image over two soft-ground plates and then correctly register them to print on the star wheel press.
The group prepared each plate, de-greasing and coating them with a traditional softground wax, once the plates had been prepared they were etched in copper-sulphate and cleaned in preparation for inking and printing.
I am so excited to be experimenting with Multiplicity, Soft-ground and Stop Start Etching.
In my last blog post, I spoke about the difficulties in forming a conversation between the marks that were present on the plate. To me, the etch was shouting over the natural striations and oxidisation that I was encouraging to form. Resolved to take an active approach to mark making. Utilising soft-ground, Lascaux varnish, impure water and a pertinent quotation from A Thousand Plateaus I began to experiment.
As the academic year comes to a close and the printmaking studio empties of frantic students I have found some time to begin experimenting with impurities and the rhizome.
I have been very kindly given a number of large, lightly etched zinc plates. My usual practice is to, grain, aquatint and etch zinc multiple times with a deep bite, so the light etch would not interfere with my work, but as I occasionally laminate plates with photopolymer it is best to start with a neat surface.
Whilst graining the plates by hand, using a medium carborundum, block and sandpaper I removed a substantial layer of the original etch. As hand graining with a block is a laborious process I broke the monotony by periodically inking and printing the plates. I thought that if nothing else I would be left with a series of prints showing the reduction of an etch and the appearance of a ghost like ‘nothingness’.