Stanley W Hayter founded Atelier 17 in Paris in 1927. Picasso, Miro and Chagall were among the many artists that spent time working there. All newcomers were set the same graphic etching experiments, whatever their background. It was not intended that this lead to a work of art, it is designed with no determined image in mind. After the first two lines have been drawn on the plate and etched there follows a sequence of successive soft ground etches, stopping out areas as seem appropriate until confusion reigns. Finally two defined deep etches restore some structure. The above plates were made by this process and then it was engraved for more definition. It was a valuable learning exercise teaching the newcomer not only soft ground etching, but not to fear the unknown. One set of 8 prints was made from this plate.
Ref S W Hayter New Ways of Gravure, New York, Watson Gupthill, revised 1981 chapter 17.
I came across a Cedric Green etching on the web and spent much time wondering how it was done. These prints are the result. The aim was to make three plates that would print successfully together however they were oriented to each other.
Three aluminium plates were made, one blind embossed, the second a soft ground etching and the third was intended as a relief plate. The relief plate was more successfully inked as intaglio. Four prints were done in an edition of two each. Not all plates were used in each print.
This print is two layered. The lower layer is an etch from a laser transferred greyscale image that had been subject to different Photoshop filters to manipulate the image, for example, ‘cut out’ and ‘invert’. It was done to see what happened and whether one filter image etched more clearly than others. All six tiles were treated differently. Transfer was by domestic iron. Once the print was totally dry a layer of digital precoat was applied and the print run through an inkjet printer. Precoats are made by InkAid and Golden, amongst others. No problem was encountered with applying an inkjet ink over a printing ink. The whole was then sprayed with a UV protective coat. An edition of 3 was printed.
As I wanted to layer several images on top of each other the traditional plate marks from a metal plate would, unless identical, create debossed lines in the image. The answer was to make ‘plates’ that could be relief rolled and printed face down on the support. ‘Foam’ above was made by backing PVA brushed scrim on a base of ‘angel hair’. Before the PVA dried the scrim was distressed, removing threads, and crumpling the scrim. Once dry a coat of thin shellac was used to seal. This ‘plate’ has been tough and used and washed repeatedly. I have inked it with water washable oil based Caligo ink and also Golden Open acrylic. The latter is useful as there seems to be no limit to the number of layers laid down. For oil based ink 3 seems to be the limit.