Etching homework

copper plate with hard ground and lines
5.5″ x 3.5″ copper plate with wax hard ground applied; first go at line etching.

Above is my homework assignment for the first week of my Etching 7 Intaglio class. It was a learning experience, for sure. Although the instructor warned against using anything too sharp, I used the same scribes I’ve been using for the drypoint techniques, and they did prove too sharp- a number of the early lines I worked went not only through the wax, but right into the copper as well, which is not the aim with etching (you’re meant to let the acid do the work). But as i went along, I got feel for how little pressure is needed to effectively remove the ground (it’s only wax, after all).

I also learned that I should hold the plate in place at a point not crucial to the image– as you can see in the lower left corner, my fingers managed to remove some of the ground, so I will have to do touch-up there. Learning by doing and learning through mistakes is good, though. I’m really looking forward to seeing the results of the first dip in the ferric chloride bath on Tuesday, and to pulling the first proof. My aim for the class is to work on images of buildings and focus on the aquatint and mezzotint processes.

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