What is etching?
Etching is the traditional craft of incising a design into a metal plate by the process of a chemical reaction rather than with tools. These plates can then be inked and sent through the press with dampened paper to print the image.
How long do the plates last?
The advantage of etching into metal is that the plates have a long life and editions in the 100's could be made. Aluminium is also relatively non-corrosive so resistant to rust even if it is left outside.
Is the plate or the print the 'etching'?
The process, the plates produced and the pictures printed from the plates are all called etching(s). Often the plates themselves are just as beautiful as the prints and are works of art in their own right.
Is it toxic?
It doesn't have to be! At Bristol Print Room, Steph uses newly developed health-freindly and eco-freindly etching grounds and resists. These are just as effective but not yet as widely known and used. The traditional grounds and resists that were used in the past and are still used widely today are full of toxic chemicals such as arsenic and lead.
Which metals can be etched?
Copper, aluminium, steel, zinc - all these matals can be etched. Each has it's own necessary etch solution. For the most part, Steph etches onto aluminium because of the versatility of this metal and the comparative ease with which different tonal values can be created.