This experiment tests a process developed by Andrew Baldwin in which icing sugar is used to create an aquatint. Using a cake sieve, the icing sugar was dusted onto a grounded plate. For this test, the plate was etched for 20 minutes to create a darker tone. This plate was prepared with American icing sugar and was created side by side with the plate for Test 14 which used Tate & Lyle British icing sugar.
Date: May 8, 2012
Researcher’s Name: Andrea Santos & Mary Clark
Plate Material: .032 copper
Plate Size: 3 x 4 1/2″
Room Temperature: 66, moderately humid & rainy
The plate was degreased with soy sauce and bon ami that was rubbed onto surface with a scrap of rolled felt. The plate was rinsed under running water, dried by blotting on newsprint and using a blowdryer. A thin layer of BIG ground was rolled out on a glass slab using a 10″ brayer. The ground was rolled onto the plate in all directions to apply a thin even coat. The oven was preheated at 240 degrees on the ‘convention’ setting. Plate was set aside as sugar got prepared.
The icing sugar was pre-sifted and set aside to create a faster, more even application. The pile of pre-sifted (American) icing sugar was placed on the top of the mesh of a cake sifter. Sugar appeared much more coarse than the Tate & Lyle British sugar. Placing the plate directly underneath, the sifter was shaken from side to side to allow the sugar to dust down onto the plate. A 4-inch, flat scraper was then used to move around the rest of the sugar on the mesh to allow it to fall onto plate. This was continued until the plate was completely covered in sugar and no red of the ground could be seen through the layer of white sugar on surface. The sugar was lumpy, sticky and falling in large particles down onto the grounded plate. Plate was left alone with heap of sugar for 5 minutes. Plate was then lifted vertically and tapped on it’s edge against the table to remove excess sugar. The appearance of the plate surface was coarse and very speckled. The plate was left alone flat on a table for 30 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve into the ground.
Plate was then placed into the pre-heated oven for 6 minutes at 240 degrees. After baking, plate was left alone for one hour. At that point, plate surface feels room temperature and sugar had hardened.
Using a tray and warm water (tap hot), plate was submerged and repeatedly rinsed to dissolve sugar. The water was sloshed around to continuously move water over surface and new water was replaced every few minutes. Plate was also ran directly under the faucet stream. These methods were switched between and repeated for 20 minutes. The plate was then blotted dry and backed with contact paper.
Plate was placed in tray of salt and vinegar to remove any oxidation, blotted with newsprint and backed with contact paper. Plate was placed flat into a tray of ferric to etch for 20 minutes. While plate was in tray, acid was carefully sloshed from side to side to avoid having bubbles form on the surface which would result as a resist. While plate was etching, circular shapes begin to form in the ground and the ground begins to flake off. The ground started to flake at 5 minutes in the acid and was barely there by the end of etching at 20 minutes.
Timed Application of Mordant
Removal of Grounds
Ground was removed with soy solve and a rag. Plate was placed in salt and vinegar bath and cleaned with degreaser spray before inking.
After Bath Evaluation
There was barely any ground on the plate when it is rinsed. There was a lot of variation and pattern in the surface.
Plate was inked using Graphic Chemical bone black. The ink was carded on with mat board scraps, wiped in gentle circular motions with used tarletan and palm wiped.
Paper Type: hahnemuhle
Paper Soaking Time: 20 minutes
Press Blanket Setup: brand, 2 blankets, 2.5 pressure
Similarly to the previous test, the proof had a distinct, cloud-like, stenciled image. It is possible that this issue traces back to how it was degreased. The rolled felt used to degrease the plate could be contaminated.