Yesterday was my first day back at the Australian Print Workshop. Last year I was at Uni so I used the facilities there, but I'm glad to be back at APW, I missed it.
So I spent a long hard day in the workshop trying to get etchings made for markets and galleries, in 8 hours I managed 16 etchings, it's such a slow labour intensive process, but well worth while. I'm working on editioning two prints at the moment, hopefully I'll have them ready for next weekend.
I always choose to use the little old wooden press, instead of the big spring assisted presses. Apart from it always being free because no one else wants to use it, I like the feeling of really putting all of my effort into turning the wheel and pulling the print through. I am often seen with my feet off the ground putting all my weight onto the arms of the wheel to get it turning. It's good exercise!
For each picture you have to ink up the copper plate, it's a messy process and the ink is very thick. You scrape the ink on with an applicator, then with tarlatan (a mesh like material) you rub the ink into the etched lines. Then with another piece of tarlatan you rub the ink back so the rest of the plate's surface is clean. See how the ink is black in the etched lines but the rest of the plate is clean and coppery. I give the plates a final polish with a page from a phone book and then they are ready to print.
Line up the plates using a template under an acetate sheet, get the soaking paper from the water bath, dry it off a bit, line it up over the plates, fold down the etching blankets, then, with all your might, turn the wheel to pull the print bed through the roller and voila! Your etching has been made. Phew!
Now, start all over again for the next one.