Strange landscapes from wood

On a recent walk in Hoxton, I picked up a piece of wood. Perhaps it was part of a crate. It had interesting grain.

John cut it into smaller pieces with a saw.

Wood pieces

I was going to use them as relief blocks. Timg_06971hen I got talking to a fellow printer at East London Printmakers. She suggested I press them into soft ground and make an etching plate. Then I thought I’d use the Albion press to get sufficient pressure.

The technician, Dan, asked if I had aquatint on there, and I hadn’t. Can you put aquatint on top of soft ground? We went off to consult the studio co-ordinator. She said yes, aquatint was good idea.

So here’s the process:

  1. Prepare plate with soft ground
  2. Press wood into soft ground using the Albion Press. This makes an impression with darker places where the wood was.
  3. Put aquatint (dust) onto the plate, and fuse it with the gas burner. The soft ground burns and goes brown. The aquatint fuses onto the plate in the darker places. 
  4. Etch in acid, Edinburgh etch, for two minutes. 
  5. Clean off the plate and print.The aquatinted areas are dark.

Here’s the result.

IMG_0686
Wood block into soft ground. Printed from copper plate. “Strange landscapes”, on drying rack. Prussian blue ink on Vintage Paper Co paper.

Here’s the other block, with chine collé stripes added. I’m not sure which way up it should be. IMG_0696 Since this whole session was experimental, I also used some experimental paper from the Vintage Paper Company. They say on the package: “This was made some time between 1969 and 1973 as waterleaf (unsized) printing paper by J Green and Sons (brilliant but now extinct British papermakers). I had it gelatine sized in December 2017 by Two Rivers Paper (brilliant and very much alive and kicking British papermakers” and they ask for feedback. I think it worked really well, and I’m now off to write them an email.

IMG_0687

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