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Intaglio project

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Our lesson on copper plate marking explained everything from burrs to the production of paper. I'd always wanted to etch onto copper so I was keen to burnish the edges of my piece and take it to Flagstaff Gardens to focus on my abstracted play equipment close up.

I etched in the sun in the Gardens, trying to garner the essence of that place via close profanity! Later I etched at home and more in the RMIT studio. By the time it was time for the lesson on printing the etches, mine was the first on through.

It was good to have the staff there to ensure that the printing presses were being used safely at the start. It wasn't long before all the students felt really accustomed to the proper way to use the press. You can see some of the notes I had made in my notebook about the process of etching.

I marked up my proof, delighted by how some of my really light lines and the scratches of the asphalt had made it to the paper, and keen to darken a lot of the areas to create more contrast in the piece.

Proof one marked up

After working on my piece for another week, I was ready to print proof two. Imagine my surprise when proof two was printed out even lighter than the first! It was then that I realised that I'd gone too hard at cleaning the ink off my plate the second time around. The resulting image was completely different.

Proof two is too light!

After this experience, I made sure that my plate had enough ink tone left on it pre-printing. On a roll after this lesson, I printed my edition, learning along the way a second big lesson: that making each print look as similar as possible is a real skill. A skill that I am still learning!

I have kept this on my studio wall as a reminder of the progress made in the process.

I am happiest with this 'goldilocks' depth of tone:

The final images can be seen on my gallery page.

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