Part of the mission of Zea Mays Printmaking is to research new developments in safer, less-toxic and non-toxic printmaking. Our goal is to find materials and processes that can replace solvent-based, toxic printmaking techniques while maintaining quality.
Each research project sets out to discover the best practices for a particular technique, product or formula. The research was done by Zea Mays Printmaking interns, under the supervision of Liz Chalfin, the studio’s director. Certain practices are the norm at Zea Mays Printmaking, including using an airbrush to apply aquatints, hardening grounds in a convection oven, etching copper plates in vertical etching tanks with Ferric Chloride, degreasing plates with soy sauce, stripping acrylic grounds in a sodium carbonate bath and deoxidizing in a vinegar and salt bath.
We have divided the Research Projects section of the website into units. Each unit covers an entire research subject and includes all of the experiments done on that subject. Each experiment was tightly controlled and documented in detailed notes and photographs. All of the successes and failures are included in the documentation. When we were able to get consistently good results for a particular process we have added a step-by-step process handout.
Click on the name of a Research Project and you can read an abstract about that project and then proceed to the experiments and documentation.