BIG Soft Ground Research Test 5

Test Summary
Considering the difficulties I had encountered in the previous tests I sought the help of the creator of the BIG ground, Andrew Baldwin. His first suggestion was that I switch from using the red BIG ground, the ground that we have used in the previous tests, to a less tacky black BIG ground. Baldwin also suggested using a different transfer paper other than newsprint. I tried a less absorbent drafting vellum and followed the same procedure in the previous tests but with black BIG.

Date: October 29, 2010
Researcher’s Name: Brianna Ashe
Plate Material: .032 Copper
Plate Size :3.5 in x 5.5 in
Room Temperature: 70°F Cool and Cloudy

Plate Preparation
The plate was degreased with soy sauce that was rubbed onto the plate using a piece of rolled felt, rinsed and then dried with a clean rag and blow dryer. The BIG was squeezed from the tube onto a clean, glass inking slab, spread with a knife and rolled up using a 4” diameter, medium hardness brayer. I made sure that the roller and slab where free of oil and excessive talc because this effects how the ground adheres to the plate. Several thin layers of black BIG were rolled across the surface of the copper plate, building gradually enough so the copper did not sparkle through the ground. I waited 20 minutes to allow the ground to set before drawing. I used Clearprint drafting vellum as a transfer paper, gently laid across the surface of the plate. I used a bridge to hold my hand above the plate surface in order not to disrupt the ground. The goal was to have the paper lay across the plate evenly without wrinkling or over lifting the ground. I immediately cleaned the roller and slab with diluted Simple Green and a rag after rolling up the copper plate because BIG has a tendency to dry on the roller. I used a hard “H” pencil for the drawing. The drawing time was broken into four 15-minute increments; each time switching to a different colored pencil for easy documentation. I hardened the ground for 30 minutes in the hotbox until the ground was smooth to the touch without any tack.

Bri's drawing and transfer

Bri’s drawing and transfer

Etching Notes
The plate was etched in a vertical etching tank of Ferric Chloride at 38° Baume.

Timed Application of Mordant
30 Minutes

Removal of Grounds
The grounds were removed using the paint stripper Eco Strip by Homestrip. Eco Strip comes as a gel and is an excellent substitution for the stripper bath. Rub the Eco Strip on with a rag and the ground comes off entirely. The plate was rinsed in water and deoxidized in the plate brightener bath made of distilled white vinegar and salt (1 gallon/1 cup). Immediately following the brightener bath the plates were dried with a clean rag and blow dryer.

After Bath Evaluation
The plate does not look etched at all.

Inking Methods
The plates were inked with unmodified Graphic Chemical & Ink Co. Bone Black Etching Ink #514. The ink was carded onto the copper plate with mat board scraps, wiped with used tarlatan, and then palm wiped.

Paper Type: Hahnemule Copperplate
Paper Soaking Time: 30 Minutes
Press Blanket Setup: Sizing Catcher and Pusher, 6.5 pressure, Small Takach Etching Press

Test Conclusion
The black BIG ground was applied too thickly to the plate and therefore the transfer paper did not remove enough of the ground to open the copper up to etch.

Printed Images

Bri's Print

Bri’s Print

BIG Soft Ground Research Test 6 >