White Ground Alternatives Using Suspended Pigment: Test 12

Date: June 2 2016

Researchers: Katie St. John and Liv Stanislas

Room Temperature: 68 degrees Fahrenheit

Humidity, etc: Dry, no humidity

Materials: 4″x 6″ Copper Plate 0.032 Gauge, Whole Foods 2X Concentrated Laundry Detergent, Ivory Bar Soap, Guerra Titanium White Pigment, Linseed Oil, Water, and Graphic Chemical Bone Black Ink.

Abstract: We made art!

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 to five weeks old.

Application of the shaved soap ground:

The ground was creamy and malleable. We were able to get large areas of consistent white tones and a lot of texture

Etching bath notes: 38.5 degrees Baume ferric chloride

Etched in horizontal bath with agitation every 2 minutes or so

Time in bath: 20 minutes

Stage etching after a second application of aquatint at intervals of 1.5 minutes (twice), 2 minutes, and 3 minutes for an additional 8 minutes of etching

Sanding and burnishing with plate oil after etching

After bath evaluation:

The same amount of flaking as normal.

Removal of grounds (chemicals used and evaluation of effectiveness)

Removed residual soap grounds with 7th Generation degreaser and wiping with rags

Placed in stripper bath for 15 minutes to remove the aquatint

Placed in deoxidizer bath for 15 minutes

Inking methods (type of ink used, modifiers, wiping/rolling techniques)

Ink: Graphic Chemical Bone Black with no modifiers

Tarlatan wiping with a short paper wipe to finish

Paper type: Hannemuhle Copper Plate Bright White and Warm White, 1/4 sheet

Soaking time: 25 minutes

Press (blanket set up and pressure): Brand Press with two sizing catchers; 0.2 pressure

Liv_WhiteGround copy

Untitled, image size: 12″ x 9″, white ground, drypoint, and aquatint printed on Hahnemuhle Copper Plate Bright White.

Untitled, image size: 9" x 12", white ground, drypoint, and aquatint printed on Hanhemuhle Copper Plate Warm White.

Untitled, image size: 9″ x 12″, white ground, drypoint, and aquatint printed on Hanhemuhle Copper Plate Warm White.


Conclusions:  The white ground integrates with other techniques well, acting as a good “first step” to creating an etching. Reaquatinting and stage etching worked well on top of the white ground etch and allowed for us to push different areas of the prints forward and backward into space. We were able to sand and burnish on top of the white ground etch, although the original etch is deep at 20 minutes. Applying white ground on top of an area already etched with white ground produced unpredictable results.