Learning to use Edinburgh Etch with Shana James

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

About the etching class

For 3 Sundays in a row Shana James gave a beginners etching class hosted by PAWA (Printmakers Association of WA). We etched the copper plates with Edinburgh Etch solution.

This was my first copper plate etching - made by using hard ground and the Edinburgh Etch solution.

This was my first etched copper plate – made by using hard ground and the Edinburgh Etch solution.

As I am very much a novice print maker I learned a great deal at this class. I had been keen to learn this print method for 2 reasons. The first is that my drawings are very detailed, with very fine lines, and I wanted to reproduce that fine detail. I knew that etching would achieve that. The second is that I had read that Edinburgh Etch was a less toxic method that could be done at home.

My previous foray into etching used more hazardous chemicals and required a fume cupboard – I only did it once and decided that was not for me.

Preparing the etching plates

For the first lesson we prepared the plates – bevelled the edges, polished the surface, poured on the hard ground, waited for that to dry, and protected the back and edges. Then we drew into the hard ground, and placed the plate in the Edinburgh Etch solution for 45 minutes. Then the tape and hard ground were removed to reveal the bitten image.

This was my first print from my first etching plate prepared using Edinburgh Etch.

This was my first print from my first etching plate prepared using Edinburgh Etch.

Printing from the etched plates

The printing took place during the second lesson and I was very pleased with the result. Some of the other people in the class had a go at adding aquatint but I decided to keep it simple this time around. During this lesson we also prepared another plate so that we could draw into it at home ready for printing during lesson 3.

These lessons were aimed at beginners so we only used one colour. Shana talked about using more than one colour and registration, but what we did was quite enough for me to take in at this early stage. I also asked a lot of questions about the type of paper that is suitable for printing etchings. I need to do some homework on this to find out which papers I like best.

I know now that this method suits my style of work and will be practical for my home studio situation. I will be able to do the actual printing at the PAWA premises where they have a press for the use of members.

This is the first print from my second etching plate.

This is the first print from my second etching plate.

This is my second etched plate from the etching class with Shana James where we used Edinburgh Etch solution. July 2015.

This is my second etched plate from the etching class with Shana James where we used Edinburgh Etch solution. July 2015.

I left feeling inspired and with an extra plate to have another go at home. I’ve bought most of the things required – just a couple of bits and pieces left to find. I’ve read 5 library books about printing since the class and am part way through another!

 

Another disaster – felting this time

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

Needle Felting the Bowl

I spent several hours creating two bowl shapes by randomly weaving over a plastic bowl with Courtelle machine knitting yarn. I planned to embroider different designs on the inside and the outside of both of them and then dry-felt with hand-held felting needles to integrate the wool stitching. This was easy to do but took quite a bit of time and I was quite pleased with the overall look.

Bowl randomly woven over a plastic bowl with Courtelle yarn. After embroidering over the weaving I used needle felting to finish - this weakened the structure.

Bowl randomly woven over a plastic bowl with Courtelle yarn. Embroidered with tapestry wool on the inside and outside and dry-felted. In places where there was no wool the needles weakened the courtelle to the point where it could be torn easily by hand.

Then I noticed there were some weak areas between some of the circles on the outside. When I pushed (hard) with my finger I was able to push through and pull the fabric apart at those points. I wasn’t able to pull it apart where there was wool on both the inside and the outside (ie the courtelle sandwiched between the 2 layers). I cannot tear the other unembroidered bowl so clearly it was the needle-felting that has broken down, or cut perhaps, the fibres of the Courtelle. I was unimpressed – it had taken me several hours to dry felt (leave alone the time taken to make the bowl shape in the first place) and in so doing I had destroyed something I quite liked the look of.

Lessons Learned

I have learned a lesson – I will only dry-felt with felting needles on wool. This was my first foray into dry-felting with needles and now I am wondering how strong some of the embroideries I have seen made with the embellishing machines are when they have used synthetic fabrics/yarns. I am going to put these in the bin – I don’t want to incorporate something I am not happy with into any other artworks. I am going to embroider the other bowl base as I am quite happy with the strength of that structure – but I will not be using felting needles on it because of the Courtelle base layer.

The Making of an Exhibition

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Finished, Exhibition, MELD, Uncategorized
Detail of a Jolly Gerbera drawing displayed at the Hidden Revealed Transformed (October 2014) Exhibition

Detail of a Jolly Gerbera drawing displayed at the Hidden Revealed Transformed (October 2014) Exhibition

Tonight at 7pm the members of MELD (myself, Margaret Ford, Louise Wells and Julie Devereux) will be giving a powerpoint presentation with informal discussion at WAFTA. We’ll talk about how the group formed, how we came to the decision to hold a group exhibition and how we went about making it happen. We learnt a lot, and had some fun along the way of course. The Hidden Revealed Transformed exhibition was a very positive experience for us and If you’ve ever thought about holding an exhibition with friends we might just persuade you that you can do it too! We will be displaying some work from the exhibition so it will be a chance to see those up close if you missed our exhibition and chat to us about those as well. The venue is Alexander Park Craft House, Clyde Road, Menora (Perth, Western Australia). Visitors are welcome – there is a door fee. We hope to see you there.