First Workshop May 2013

This is the description of the workshop and its aims and objectives

Electro Etching Workshop

In this workshop we will explore the potential of electro etching. It is a non-hazardous technique that can be applied to copper, zinc, steel and aluminium. The focus will be on etching aluminium because it has two important advantages over other metals one it is significantly cheaper than copper and zinc and secondly it has a grain that when etched produces a natural aquatint that extends from a light grey to a rich velvet black.

Electro etch is described as being the least hazardous etching technique available. This workshop will explore its potential for alternative mark making rather than its non-toxic credentials.

The workshops aims to:

• Provide a simple introduction to the theory and practice of electro etching.

• Introduce the equipment needed for electro etching, how to set it up and use it safely.

• Preparation and etching of plates.

• Inking and printing plates.

Objectives:

• Participants will have gained a working knowledge of electro etching and will have made and proofed at least one plate.

As can be seen from the first two photographs the equipment we used is fairly primitive. It basically a six volt battery run through a 1 ohm fixed resistor this provides from one to three volts and around three amps. This will produce a printable line in about four to five minutes and where a large amount of metal has been left exposed a smokey aquatint is achieved. As an electrolyte we used plain table salt 100g to a L. of distilled water. I also add around  250 cc. of distilled malt vinegar, I have found that this counteracts the formation of a gel like substance that I understand to be aluminium hydroxide.

The group was extremely productive.

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