This post was supposed to to contain information about a process called Photo Gravure, but It's not going to.
Instead it will talk about Hardground. What is hard ground? Before this is answered, you need to know what a Ground is.
"Etching is a general word meaning that acid was used to incise the plate. In making an etching, the plate is first coated with an acid-resistant material called a ground. The names of the various types of etchings come from the types of grounds used. Hard ground and soft ground are used to make lines, and an aquatint ground is used for tones. Grounds for line drawing are usually made of wax." Crown Point Press
The image to the left is of a copper plate coated with a hard ground and it has been drawn into with an etching needle.
Over the Last week and a half, I have been trying to find a less-toxic hard ground that works as well as the toxic stuff. Here is what I've found so far:
It must be noted that New Grounds currently uses Pledge Floor Polish with Blue food coloring as the ground. It is applied using the flow method. With this method, the plate is placed in a plastic container and the hard ground is poured over it and the excess ground is funneled back into the container. It provides a very even and thin coating.
The internet provided me with many options to begin testing the first of which was the BIG . This has been my favorite so far, but I have only used it on a small plate. The ground comes in black and red; the black for the first etch and the red for any subsequent etches after you have taken off the black. The black ground provides an impeccable drawing surface because it is opaque. the bonus to this hard ground is that it functions as a soft ground as well. I rolled up the plate with the ground similarly to how I would roll ink on to a relief plate. For the BIG to dry, it must be heated. I used a cardboard box with a hair dryer for 10 minutes and it worked perfectly.
The next ground I tried was a combination of GAC 200 and india ink. Multiple recipes came up on the internet, but none with specific measurements. I spent an entire day trying to find the right combination to make this ground work and I could not figure it out. So if you're reading this and you know, contact me please. :) Here are images from that experiment. I did find that the GAC makes it very hard to get off of the copper.
The next combination I tried is very similar to what New Grounds already uses. I mixed the black india ink with the Pledge floor polish. The Black of the india ink makes it show up more than the blue of the other mixture. also, I use a hair dryer to dry the ground and its ready to draw on within a minute or so. This ground is very nice because it can be easily removed and applied very quickly. DANGER: if applied to thick, it will chip off with the etching needle. It takes a few practice runs to get use to the right thickness. Also, I like this mixture because it can be applied with a reusable foam brush and that cuts down the application time a lot. It takes the hassle out of having to clean and funnel the excess back into the container. I store it in the above plastic jar.
To create the mixture I used hard science. I poured some floor polish into the jar. then drop by drop I added the india ink until it was dark enough to see when painted onto a piece of paper. I plan on finding a specific measurement because its frustrating having to guess at the correct amount.
I have a few more recipes to try out and will post them when I do.
WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN HAPPENING YOU ASK?
My parents came to visit and we went hiking!
The Opening Reception of the Desert Triangle Carpeta took place at the First Saturday Art Crawl. Check out that link- it has images of all of the pieces.
I'll be posting some new work i've made soon! As soon as I get photographs of it.