How I work: etching with chine-collée

This is an illustration of how go about my prints, in this case the etching of two girls in kimonos shown in its final version below.

Leaving the temple, Etching with chine- collée, 2020.

This print was based on a photo which I took when on holiday in Kyoto in 2019.

I started by putting what is called a hard ground on my etching plate and doing a very simple line drawing based on the photo. I prefer to draw freehand from the photo rather than transfer the image on to the plate as the effect is freer and I can make changes. In this case I forgot to reverse the image so you can see that my finished image is the mirror of the photo.

First state of etching with hard ground only

I then like to add some texture. This is done by putting a soft ground on to the plate, putting something that will leave a textured mark onto the surface and running it through the press before etching in acid. In this case the tree was an old rubber glove and the texture a dishcloth. On other prints I have used bubble wrap and onion and orange bags.

Second state of etching with soft ground texture added.

I then put an aquatint on the plate. An aquatint allows you to add tone to the print by progressively blocking out areas that you want to keep lighter. I use a variety of tools to block out areas which allows more texture to be added, as for example behind the woman on the right.

3rd state of print with aquatint added.

This is what the plate looked like at this stage. I was happy with it and haven’t done anything else to it.

The final plate.

I still wanted to experiment with how it was printed. I used a variety of coloured inks rubbed into different parts of the plate. I also used Japanese chiyogami papers for the kimonos. This was added to the print using a technique called chine-collée where the paper is treated with glue so when the print is taken it adheres to the printing paper.

My palate for printing a coloured etching. Inks are applied to the plate using small pieces of card.

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