This picture has been made on a copper plate, inked and printed on 300g. Somerset paper.
image size: 6 cm x 6 cm
paper size: 10 cm x 11 cm
In traditional pure etching, a metal plate (usually of copper, zinc or steel) is covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid. The artist then scratches off the ground with a pointed etching needle where he or she wants a line to appear in the finished piece, exposing the bare metal. The échoppe, a tool with a slanted oval section, is also used for “swelling” lines. The plate is then dipped in a bath of acid, known as the mordant (French for “biting”) or etchant, or has acid washed over it. The acid “bites” into the metal (it undergoes a redox reaction) to a depth depending on time and acid strength, leaving behind the drawing carved into the wax on the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate. For first and renewed uses the plate is inked in any chosen non-corrosive ink all over and the surface ink drained and wiped clean, leaving ink in the etched forms.