Etching Process

I was sorting some boxes of old stuff lately and came across these etching proofs for one of my older prints.  This particular etching was created by dipping a piece of copper into an acid bath repeatedly with a different pattern blocked off each time.  The acid eats away at the copper in the areas that it is not covered with a waxy substance called a ground.  The plate is then cleaned, covered in ink and then the surface is wiped down so that the only remaining ink is in the grooves created by the acid.  The copper plate is then run through a printing press, which allows the ink to transfer onto the paper.  Below, you can see the different steps that took place.  The first image is the line drawing that was first etched into the copper, and then with each image different shades are added.  There were a couple processes I worked with with this piece, including scraping down the plate in several places as well as using spray paint to get some of the textures.  That’s the gist, but here’s a much more extensive explanation of etching.

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