Date: April 21st, 2016
Researchers: Katie St. John and Liv Stanislas
Room Temperature: 72 degrees Fahrenheit
Humidity, etc: Mostly dry, slightly humid (windows were open)
Materials: 4″x 6″ Copper Plate 0.032 Gauge, 365 2X Concentrated Laundry Detergent, Ivory Bar Soap, Guerra Titanium White Pigment, Linseed Oil, Water, and Graphic Chemical Bone Black Ink.
Abstract: In this experiment we edited our 365 Laundry Detergent recipe to increase the tack of the ground in the hopes that this would support the ground’s staying power in the bath. Looking back at our previous experiments, we decided to add equal parts laundry detergent and shaved soap to accomplish this.
Plate Preparation (surface prep, ground application, image making process, etc.):
Burnished out significant lines, steel wool sanded then Putz Pomade applied; Cleaned with 7th Generation Degreaser; degreased with soy sauce, backed with contact paper
Sprayed acrylic aquatint through an airbrush onto the plate, then heat-set the aquatint in a hot box for 20 minutes before adding soap ground, plate was used the same day
Soap ground recipes: 365 Laundry Detergent ½ tsp, Shaved Soap ½ tsp, Guerra Pigment ½ tsp, Linseed Oil ¼ tsp
*Shaved soap was grated on a typical kitchen grater, smallest size grater available, and then crumbled by hand to a consistency of short-grain rice. The crumbled soap at this point is four weeks old.
Application of the soap ground:
The ground was malleable and easily modified to get a full range of tone. The ground was very smooth and this allowed application to be more intentional.
Etching bath notes: 38.5 degrees Baume ferric chloride
Etched in horizontal bath with agitation every 2 minutes or so
Time in bath: 23 minutes
After bath evaluation
The ground was much stronger in the bath, with less flaking and more preserved detail.
Removal of grounds (chemicals used and evaluation of effectiveness)
Removed residual soap grounds with 7th Generation degreaser and wiping with rags: The degreaser was effective, and the ground was more resistant to removal.
Placed in stripper bath for 15 minutes to remove the aquatint
Placed in deoxidizer bath
Inking methods (type of ink used, modifiers, wiping/rolling techniques)
Ink: Graphic Chemical Bone Black with no modifiers2
Tarlatan wiping with a short paper wipe to finish
Paper type: Hannemuhle Copper Plate Bright White, ⅛ sheet
Soaking time: 25 minutes
Press (blanket set up and pressure): Pelican Press with 2 sizing catchers; 0.8 pressure
Of all the soap combinations we’ve tried, we feel that this mixture is the closest to the original recipe of white ground. It produced sharp bright whites and held thinly painted dark grey values. It kept the texture of brush strokes that we made. At the same time, it broke down in the acid at a rate that produced the reticulated slightly unpredictable quality of a soap ground. All together this ground was really successful, and has all of the qualities that we set out to reproduce in the beginning.