8. Artist’s proofs

Etching tools

Etching tools

At present, I am busily putting together a new series of artist’s books that take inspiration from mapping and the idea of place. The pieces all have a focus on printmaking, particularly etching and part of this process is running artist’s proofs to help with making decisions about the end results.

Etching plate with a design drawn into a wax hard ground

Etching plate with a design drawn into a wax hard ground

Once the design of the etching is completed, and the metal plate is prepared (in this case zinc), a hard wax ground is applied to the plate. This is then removed by using a variety of tools (see image above) and the plate is put into acid to etch. The wax protects the plate from the acid, and where it is removed, the acid erodes the metal leaving the design etched into the plate. This is where the ink for the print will be pushed into and when run through a press with damp paper, the ink (and image) is transferred onto the paper. Then for the fun bit! One of my favourite aspects of printmaking is the variables you can create. Once a plate is etched, I always run a series of artist’s proofs with different variations of coloured inks to see what will fit the piece best. This print is going to be a concertina book. Come back again soon to see which piece I decided to run an edition of!

Artist's proofs of concertina books

Artist’s proofs of concertina books