How to make a simple dry-point intaglio print:
|First scrape down and round off the edges of your plate. Then plan your work with a permanent marker on the plate.|
|Then use an etching scribe to scratch the design into the plate. We used acrylic plates first.|
|Then we used zinc for the second round of prints. The scribe cuts a groove into the surface that has a burr on one side (and sometimes on both sides). This groove will hold the ink during printing.|
|When using only lines for depth of colour, texture, and form, it can take a very long time to get the whole plate finished.|
|Some scribes are easier to create deeper lines with, but in the end inking is as much or perhaps even more important to the outcome of the print than the lines themselves.|
|Then the ink is wiped onto and rubbed into the etching plates.|
|And this is what it's all for! That moment when we peel back the paper and discover what we've created!! No two prints are entirely alike, and every time we peel back the paper it feels a bit like a gift.|
Between 2-hour-long sessions of intaglio practice, we went out for a very wet rainforest picnic, and to see if we could find some nature-made prints. We found our own footprints, first, then the print left by lichen that has fallen off a tree. We found the hole in the ground left by an uprooted tree, and even an owl pellet! We decided it qualified because, like all prints, it's a mark left by something departed - an impression of the past and a clue about past events.
Prints often have a feeling of melancholy, because of the inherent absence or loss involved in their making. We breathed on the studio windows and made prints of our faces in the steam. They were gone by the end of the day. It's good to think about prints; about the impression we leave upon the world and the impact we have. Prints speak also about memory. They remind us that the impression is not always the same as the original. And like memory, every retelling takes on a different character; a different reality. Prints remind us of our importance in the world, of the many different and multifaceted truths, and of the relative changeability of it all.