White Ground Alternatives Using Suspended Pigment: Test 6

Date: April 14th, 2016

Researchers: Katie St. John and Liv Stanislas

Room Temperature: 66 degrees Fahrenheit

Humidity, etc: Dry, No Humidity

Materials: 4″x 6″ Copper Plate 0.032 Gauge, 365 2x Concentrated Unscented Powdered Laundry Detergent, Guerra Titanium White Pigment, Linseed Oil, Water, and Graphic Chemical Bone Black Ink.

Abstract: With this experiment we were testing out a new powdered laundry detergent that we found; 365 2x Concentrated Unscented Powdered Laundry Detergent. We wanted to see if it would act in place of Ivory snow flakes, which is also a powdered laundry detergent with the same visual results.

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 sat for over 1 week

Soap ground recipe: 365 Whole Foods Market 2x Concentrated Unscented Powdered Laundry Detergent, 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 three weeks old.

Application of the soap ground:

This soap recipe applied very smoothly to the plate and had a good amount of body. The 365 Detergent comes in smaller granules than the soap that we shaved down and the other detergents that we’ve tried. It is the closest to the flake size of the Ivory Snow Flakes of all the soaps that we’ve tried so far. It held brush strokes well and when a lot of water was added became very easy to apply, working like a watercolor paint would.


365 Detergent Ground on Copper Plate Before Etch

Etching bath notes: 40 degrees Baume ferric chloride

Etched in horizontal bath with agitation every 2 minutes or so

Time in bath: 23 minutes

After bath evaluation

365 Detergent Ground after bath.

365 Detergent Ground after bath.

The grounds stuck to the plate pretty well in thick areas but not so well in thin washes. Not much at all flaked off into the bath.

365 Detergent Plate with ground removed.

365 Detergent Plate with ground removed.

Removal of grounds (chemicals used and evaluation of effectiveness)
Removed residual soap grounds with 7th Generation degreaser and wiping with rags: We removed the grounds will some significant scrubbing and degreasing.
Placed in stripper bath for 15 minutes to remove the aquatint
Placed in deoxidizer bath

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, ⅛ sheet

Soaking time: 25 minutes

Press (blanket set up and pressure): Pelican Press with 2 sizing catchers; 0.8 pressure

Conclusions: While the ground itself was effective in its application, it looks like it didn’t have enough tack to stick to the plate and retain all of the details and reticulation in thin areas of ground. The results look more promising than the sodium carbonate and shaved soap however. Our next step is to find a way to increase the tack and viscosity of the ground, using the 365 Laundry Detergent, to see if we can achieve the details we are looking for.

White Ground Alternatives Using Suspended Pigment: Test 7 >