March 11, 2016
Researchers: Katie St. John and Liv Stanislas
Room Temperature: 65 degrees Fahrenheit
Humidity, etc: Rainy outside, slightly humid
Materials: 4″x 6″ Copper Plate 0.032 Gauge, Ivory Snow Flake Soap, Ivory Bar Soap, Guerra Titanium White Pigment, Linseed Oil, Water, and Graphic Chemical Bone Black Ink.
Abstract: Replicating the Guerra Moku Hanga Ground from Test 1 and finding a replacement for Ivory Snowflake Soap in traditional White Ground recipes. We wanted to confirm our results from the first experiment and pursue the less toxic Guerra Ground to eliminate the need for loose titanium pigment. Because P&G is discontinuing production of Ivory Snowflake Soap, we are looking to see if shaved Ivory Bar soap will allow for the same range of texture, tonality, reticulation, and breakdown as its powdered counterpart.
Plate Preparation and Application (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
Aquatinted before adding soap ground. We sprayed the acrylic aquatint through an airbrush and then heat set the spray for 20 minutes.
Soap ground recipes: Guerra Pigment Ground (4 tsp Ivory Snowflake Soap, 2 tsp Guerra Pigment titanium white, 1 tsp linseed oil)
Shaved Soap Ground (4 tsp Ivory bar soap finely grated, 2 tsp Guerra Pigment titanium white, 1 tsp linseed oil)
Soap was grated on a typical kitchen grater, smallest size grater available, and then crumbled by hand to a consistency of short-grain rice
We applied both grounds immediately, thinning the pigments with water to ease application. The same graying occurred when we applied the grounds, even after waiting 24 hours after aquatinting. The black pigment in aquatint separated, but left acrylic granules on plate intact.
Application of the Guerra ground replicated the initial results.
Application of the shaved soap ground was more difficult, it had to be worked more to get a smooth consistency for painting.
Both were able to achieve ranges in tonality, reticulation and texture in the application of the ground.
Etching Bath notes
Etched in horizontal bath of 39 degrees Baume ferric chloride with agitation every 2 minutes or so for a total etch time of 23 minutes
Removal of grounds (chemicals used and evaluation of effectiveness)
Removed residual soap grounds with 7th Generation degreaser and wiping with rags: effective for Guerra ground
Shaved soap was more difficult to remove with this method, it looked like the ferric chloride wasn’t able to penetrate the soap and that the soap was too sticky and would not come off the plate unlike the grounds with the Ivory Snowflake Soap.
Placed in stripper bath for 15 minutes to remove the acrylic spray aquatint.
Placed in deoxidizer bath for 15 minutes.
Inking methods (type of ink used, modifiers, wiping/rolling techniques)
Inked in Graphic Chemical Bone Black with no modifiers, wiped with a tarlatan and finishing with a short paper wipe
Paper type: Hannemuhle Copper Plate Bright White, ⅛ sheet
Soaking time: 25 minutes
Press (blanket set up and pressure): Pelican Press with 2 sizing catchers; 0.8 pressure
The replication of the Guerra ground was consistent with our first results: it works! The shaved soap ground was less successful, most of the mid-range tones and textures were lost in the etching process and looked like stop-out on the print. There was much less flaking in the acid bath this time, most of the shaved soap ground was still stuck to the plate. The next steps might be to think about the greasy nature of the soap, how sticky it was, and see if recipes with less shaved soap or drier soap would work in the way the other, more successful grounds work.