This experiment tests a process developed by Andrew Baldwin in which icing sugar is used to create an aquatint. Methods learned from Andrew Baldwin were replicated in this experiment with the intention of producing a smooth, even aquatint. This experiment does not use the icing sugar box. In an email, Andrew Baldwin stated that the plate needed to be so densely covered with sugar that no ground could be seen. The focus of this experiment was to get the plate coated this densely. (Note: In this experiment Black BIG ground was used instead of red because it was already out and being used in the studio.)
Date: August 1, 2011
Researcher’s Name: Cara Borelli
Plate Material: Copper
Plate Size: 6 in x 6 in
Room Temperature: 79° F, Low humidity because of AC
Plate was beveled, burnished, degreased using soy sauce, deoxidized, and BIG ground was applied. For the application of the BIG ground, ground was not applied thinly, but was applied in the same manner as in Experiment 1. For icing sugar application: Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar was used in this experiment. The sugar was sieved directly onto the plate using the round cake sieve. Two tablespoons were placed onto the sieve, although not all of it was sieved through or needed. The plate was very thickly coated with sugar and no ground was visible. The plate was not evenly coated with sugar. Excessive sugar was removed from the plate by picking the plate up and lightly tapping one edge of the plate against a table top. After the excessive sugar was removed, the plate was still unevenly coated. The plate was then left to sit for 30 minutes before baking. Baking the ground: The plate was baked in the oven for 6 minutes and was left to sit overnight after baking was complete. The experiment was continued on 8/2/11. Temperature was 78° F with low humidity because of AC.
Water Bath 1: The plate is submerged in boiling water and agitated continuously by moving the tray the plate and water are in. After 5 minutes the plate is removed and dried with newspaper.
Water Bath 2: The plate is submerged in boiling water and agitated continuously by moving the tray the plate and water are in. After 5 minutes the plate is removed and dried with newspaper.
Water Bath 3: The plate is submerged in boiling water and agitated continuously by moving the tray the plate and water are in. After 5 minutes the plate is removed and dried with newspaper. At this point a copper sparkle is visible through the ground.
Water Bath 4: The plate is submerged in boiling water and agitated continuously by moving the tray the plate and water are in. After 5 minutes the plate is removed and dried with newspaper.
Plate was etched in a vertical etching tank of Ferric Chloride at 43° Baume.
Timed Application of Mordant
After 5 minutes the plate was removed from the Ferric, rinsed with cold water and half of the plate was rubbed with a finger. The plate was then re-submerged into the Ferric for another 5 minutes.
Removal of Grounds
Ground was removed using Soy Solv and a clean rag. The plate was then rinsed with water and dried with newspaper.
After Bath Evaluation
There is a visible difference between the rubbed side and the non-rubbed side. The texture is uneven with numerous large blobs. More copper is visible through the ground than in previous plates.
The plate was inked with unmodified Daniel Smith Creamy French Black Etching Ink. 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, 7.0 pressure, Small Takach Etching Press
There is significantly more tone in the printed image, with the tone on the rubbed side being darker. While this is a much denser aquatint than in previous experiments, the texture is still very uneven with numerous large white blobs. It can be concluded from this experiment that the icing sugar needs to be applied very densely onto the ground. Further experiments should focus on developing a method for applying the sugar evenly to the plate so as to produce a smooth aquatint.