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WHAT IS AN ETCHING?

.Essentially an ETCHING is a hand-made print. First a sheet or PLATE of, usually copper or zinc is prepared and covered with a thin layer of an acid-resistant GROUND. The image is drawn into this ground using an ETCHING NEEDLE. When the drawing is finished the plate is put into an ACID BATH (actually we use Ferric Chloride these days, but you get the idea). The acid eats at the plate where it has been exposed by the drawn lines. The length of time the plate is in the acid determines the depth of the bitten line which in turn dictates how light or dark the line is. Once this part of the process is done the plate is cleaned of its 'ground' and is ready to be printed from. This is done by INKING-UP the plate, pushing ink into the lines and then wiping the surface clean. Next, the plate is placed on the bed of the press, a sheet of previously prepared, dampened paper is placed on top and blankets to protect the roller are added on top. The whole lot is rolled through the press which exerts the massive pressure which pushes the paper into the lines of the plate thus creating that very distinctive raised 'INTAGLIO' line that makes the etched print such a, to my mind, beautiful thing. Once through, the blankets are removed, and the paper can be peeled off and you have your etching. To make another copy, the plate has to be inked up again and the whole process repeated with another sheet of paper. It is traditional to limit the EDITION, so each print is numbered with the title (bottom left side, under the image) and signed by the artist (bottom right side).