Acrylic Sodium Alginate Hardground: Experiment 6, ZMP Stop Out As Pour On Ground Vs. Sodium Alginate 1:152 as Brush on ground
Researchers: Zoe Dong and Megan Ogden
Temp: 73 degrees
Humidity: rainy, cloudy day, high humidity
For our final experiment with the sodium alginate, we wanted to use a full image to test how a printmaker would actually interact with the ground when drawing a detailed image. Megan and Zoe each drew and printed an acrylic stop out ground plate.
We applied the acrylic ground by pouring on and then air drying the stop out.
Like before, the acrylic stop out was fairly simple to draw into and we didn’t encounter serious problems when drawing our images.
After etching, we could see that there was moderate breakdown of the ground in the acid bath, shown by the dot pattern in open areas.
The resulting prints came out clean; the ground broke down a bit in large open areas but the lines held their integrity.
Experiment 6 continued:
Temp: 70 degrees
Picking up where we left off, Zoe drew her same image into the sodium alginate (1:152 ratio) plate to make a final comparison against the acrylic stop-out ground.
The sodium alginate was brushed onto the plates using a foam brush and left to air dry. The brushing on of the ground left it streaky; the ground did not self-level and a strong texture remained after drying.
The sodium alginate plate was more difficult to draw into than the acrylic stop out plate. Zoe started her drawing with a dull needle and then switched to a sharper one, but drawing was still inconsistent when she would run into the ground’s streaks of thinner/thicker applications.
After etching, the breakdown of the ground could be seen in horizontal strips.
Stripping the plate using our stripper bath (sodium carbonate and water) and estisol 242, while not very quick or easy, was manageable.
The resulting print had considerably more “noise” than the acrylic stop out print. Some foul bite occurred, and the streaky texture from the ground was highly visible in the print.
From our experiments, we concluded that while sodium alginate can be used to modify acrylic stop-out as a ground, it is not a particularly helpful modifier, and in most cases the acrylic stop out is a more reliable ground on its own.