Well my new studio has been up and running for about six weeks now and it's finally beginning to feel like a real creative space...yep, despite having all that storage space - it's a mess! I am trying to be good though and tidy up a bit more but it's such a luxury to have so much space to work in that I can't help flexing my creative muscles and spreading out all over the place.
Aside from the space, the biggest joy is that the studio has a dedicated water supply (rather than the bathroom I was using and wrecking before) which means that I can now get down to some of the things that were just impractical before.
Back in October of last year I went on an etching course and last week I finally got my kit set up and spent many hours playing to my hearts content. The picture above is some of my pieces floating in their etch bath attached to pieces of packing foam - one of the tips picked up on the course and a great idea as the floats double up as handles too.
I decided the best way to get my hand back in was to just go over what I'd learnt in October and I started off with one of the easiest resists - craft outline stickers...
These are cheap and so simple to use and they produced really strong well defined edges. These were etched for just 45 minutes although I didn't stick the top one on its float properly and it fell off, but even so it produced a pretty good etch sitting on the bottom of the bath.
The only down side to these is that there is a limited subject matter available - for me anyway but this is not really a problem when you have a die cutting machine just waiting to be put to work making your own vinyl stickers...next on the list and another post I'm sure.
After that I moved onto PNP (Press and Peel) photo transfer paper as my resist. With this you photocopy your designs onto the blue paper or film and then press it on to your metal using an iron.
|Original French Art Deco design|
That's not necessarily a disaster though as with this piece for example... although the original black and white image is very strong I still like the way it has come out in reverse and for a jewellery piece I think it works well - I love the fine detailing.
|Original French Art Deco design|
I've also used alcohol ink in my work for the first time on these pieces. I wanted there to be a differentiation between this and my bronze clay work and I like the subtlety of the finish the inks give.
On this next piece - an illustration by Aubrey Beardsley (not the Lone Ranger...) the negative image had a more, shall we say interesting effect...
It's rather odd and this 'oddness' has been exacerbated by the fact that I decided to go for broke and see what it looked liked domed. The reflection in the photograph has given is a three dimensional effect and while it's rather strange there is something about it that draws me to it and who knows...it may well generate ideas of it's own in the future.
And then of course there are some images that just don't work like this lovely image of a group of mermaids (apologies for poor quality) which is just too detailed to see clearly in the negative.
However, even this has a silver lining and since the etch is clean and deep I am hoping that I can use it as a texture plate with metal clay - much as old illustrations were made from etched plates.
Fortunately for me photo editing software allows me to flip images and invert them to negatives before I transfer them so in future, I can choose how I want them to be - note to self to do just that!
So all in all I had great fun with this, learnt a few lessons and continue to broaden my knowledge and skills base. There may even been a little collaboration between myself and another AJE colleague coming out of this but you'll just have to wait and see what that is.
I hope you found this interesting and if anyone has any etching tips they'd like to share, as always they will be gratefully accepted.
The Gossiping Goddess