Etching Zinc with Copper Sulfate Mordant Test 9

Test Summary
This test will determine how the Z-Acryl aquatint holds up in the Copper Sulfate Mordant after being applied to a previously etched plate.

Date: May 1, 2011
Researcher’s Name: Melissa Mandel
Plate Material: .040 Zinc
Plate Size: 5 in x 7 in

Plate Preparation
I began by burnishing the highlights into the dress pattern of the figure and the background. The plate was degreased with soy sauce that was rubbed onto the zinc plate using a piece of rolled felt, rinsed and then dried with a clean rag and blow dryer. I applied a Z-Acryl aquatint in 6 passes across the plate following the studio’s basic aquatinting procedure. I got a second opinion from Liz Chalfin and she approved the quality of my aquatint. I placed the plate in the hotbox and dried it for 20 minutes. I used Z-Acryl and Lithographic crayon as a stop out. I used the lithographic crayon primarily to step etch the background of the plate.

Melissa's Plate with Burnished Highlights

Melissa’s Plate with Burnished Highlights

Etching Notes
The Copper Sulfate Mordant consists of 50gm salt + 50 gm copper sulphate + 1 liter H20 stored in a plastic lidded container. I etched the plate vertically in a plastic file bin. I used a plastic letter holder that fits into the file slots to keep the zinc plate in place during etching.

Timed Application of Mordant
Every two minutes I removed the plate from the mordant and placed it in a bath of water at room temperature. I removed the plate from the bath and allowed it to air dry before using a combination of Z-Acryl and lithographic crayon as a stop out. I applied the litho crayon to areas in the background that I no longer wanted to etch. I applied the Z-Acryl to areas on the figures head and body. After completing my drawing I placed the zinc plate back in the mordant bath. I repeated this same process for a total of 15 minutes. The etch times are indicated on the print below.

Melissa's Stop Out Guide

Melissa’s Stop Out Guide

Removal of Grounds
The grounds were removed by immersing the plate in a stripper bath of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and water (100 grams/1 liter) for 20 minutes. I scrubbed at the ground using Simple Green and a toothbrush until it came off.

Melissa's Exposed Plate

Melissa’s Exposed Plate

Inking Methods
The plate was inked with unmodified Graphic Chemical & Ink Co. Bone Black Etching Ink #514. The ink was carded on with mat board scraps, wiped with used tarlatan, and then palm wiped.

Paper Type: Hahnemuhle Copperplate
Paper Soaking Time: 15 Minutes
Press Blanket Setup: Sizing catcher and pusher, 10.2 pressure, Small Takach Press

Test Conclusion
The step etch was supposed the produce a gradation in tone behind the floating figure in the print. The background is darker but still uneven. The original aquatint may have been too uneven to re-aquatint over. After I aquatinted a second time I burnished away highlights in the background.

Printed Images

Melissa's Printed Proof

Melissa’s Printed Proof

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