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How I ink and print my photo-etchings

To give you all a bit of insight into how I ink up and print my photo-etching, I've recorded a few videos to take you through each step. One thing to bear in mind is that many of my final prints have two or three layers of etchings. which means I have to repeat all these steps multiple times to produce one finished print.

Using a paint roller, I apply an even layer of intaglio etching ink across the whole of the etching plate.

Taking a large piece of scrim, I fold it in to a round even pad. I then use this to push the ink into all the lines and tones within the plate.

Next, I take a sheet of tissue paper and using the palm of my hand I buff and polish the plate taking off any ink that isn't in the line and tone of the plate. When printed, these are the whites you see in the print.

I then move the inked plate to the etching press placing it face up on the bed of the press. Next, I take a sheet of dampened paper and place it on top of my etching plate followed by a sheet of tissue paper to protect the paper. I then place three etching blankets over the top and after making sure they are completely flat and have no creases I then run it all through the press.

Intaglio - The family of printmaking techniques in which the image is incised into a surface and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink.

Scrim - a very light textile made from cotton.

damped paper - is nearly always used for printing etching as it gets rid of excess size (a glue used in the paper making process) as well as opening up the fibers of the paper making it more willing to be pushed into the incised marks within the etching plate.

Etching blankets - come in many different types and makes, however, their role is always the same which is to spread the pressure of the metal drum evenly over the bed of the press and the print.

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