Icing Sugar Aquatint

These experiments attempt to replicate a process developed by Andrew Baldwin, inventor of BIG ground, in which icing sugar is used to create an aquatint. Using an aquatint box, icing sugar becomes embedded into the BIG ground after it is blown throughout the box using a hair dryer and settles onto the plate. The aquatint box has a tray suspended several inches from the top of the box on which the sieved sugar is placed, under a hole which the hair dryer fits into. A grounded plate is centered on the bottom of the aquatint box, underneath the suspended tray. These experiments attempt to reinvent the process developed by Andrew Baldwin, and to create a smooth, even aquatint that can be used in intaglio printmaking.

In March 2012, this experiment was revisited in order to try new methods for applying sugar and creating a successful aquatint. This process, altered and demonstrated by Andrew Baldwin, is no longer using the box to apply the sugar. Using a cake sieve, the sugar is placed on top of the mesh and dusted onto a grounded plate. By testing exact rest and baking times, the sugar embeds into the ground and is lifted through a rinsing process. Another change to the prior experiments is etching the plate flat in a tray of ferric acid rather than in a vertical tank. Look through tests 8 to 18 to learn about the changed made and our new process for creating an aquatint with icing sugar.

Researcher’s Name: Cara Borelli, June 2011. Andrea Santos & Mary Clark, March-May 2012.

Research Project Tests