Sodium Alginate Acrylic Hard Ground: Experiment 6

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 
Date: 9/11/2018
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.

The acrylic stop out plates air drying

Zoe’s plate, unetched
















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.


Zoe’s plate, etched and inked

Ground breakdown visible in Zoe’s plate
















The resulting prints came out clean; the ground broke down a bit in large open areas but the lines held their integrity.


Zoe’s print

Megan’s print















Experiment 6 continued:

Date: 9/25/2018

Temp: 70 degrees

Humidity: Sunny


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 drying. Uneven texture can be seen.

Streaks visible in dried plate
















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.

Difficulty drawing into the plate

Ground chipping in places while drawing















After etching, the breakdown of the ground could be seen in horizontal strips.

Streaks from ground showing up after etching

Stripping the plate using our stripper bath (sodium carbonate and water) and estisol 242, while not very quick or easy, was manageable.


Stripping the plate

Wiping the plate
















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.

The final print

Spit biting visible

Texture from ground in background
































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.


































































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