Research Plan 2015

Research Plan for next year 2015

Developing a Centre of Excellence

These objectives are based on the researchers learning from the previous research and were identified in a critical review of literature and research so far.

The overall aim is to explore and further develop the potential of electro-etching and electrolysis as an artistic medium.

The project objectives:

Build a community of practice:

  • It is envisaged that the centre will develop into a community of practice for electro-etching with members sharing information, experiences and learning together.
  • Easy to access electro-etching units, along with workshops for members, technical support and studio time at the Regional Print Centre in Wrexham should facilitate this.
  • This provision has the potential to provide a showcase and focus for the development of electro-etching in the U.K.

Collect analyse, interpret into lay language the currently dispersed literature on electro-etching and electrotype:

  • As identified in the literature review there is a need to gather together the dispersed scientific and technical information on electrolysis and put it into a form and language that will make it understandable and useful for artists. There is a clear need to demystify the electrolytic process and make it accessible. The purpose is to provide a comprehensive source of information for electro-etching.

Continue research into the electro etching of aluminium:

Produce a portfolio of work that explores the unique mark making potential of electro-etch, focusing particularly on the etching of aluminium.

  • The researcher intends to develop a portfolio of work over the next twelve months that explores the techniques and the mark making potential of electro-etching and electrotyping.

Continue research into the art, practice and science of electro etching and electrotyping.


Chattock,R.S. (1883) Practical Notes On Etching, 2nd. Ed, London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington.

Howard, Keith. (1993). ‘Safe Etching and Photo Etching: The next generation’. Print Making Today, Vol. 2 No 3. pp. 19-21

Semenoff, N and Christos, C. (1991) Using Dry Copier Toners and Electro-Etching on Intaglio Plates Leonardo, Vol. 24, No. 4 (1991), pp. 389-394.

Smith, A. (2004) Etching: a guide to traditional etching techniques, Ramsbury, Marlborough Wiltshire: The Crowood Press.



How can the development and use of electro etching techniques enhance the work of artist printmakers?

Background and Context

In research undertaken by the author, in collaboration with the Regional Print Centre in Wrexham, and the Print Centre in Leinster in the Irish Republic, into alternative etching methods, saline sulphate was identified as a possible alternative mordant to nitric acid for etching. Saline sulphate is widely used and recommended as a safe alternative to nitric acid. We concluded that it could be considered as an alternative to but not a replacement for acid etching. The results were judged to be inconsistent and unpredictable. There were also major concerns about the safe disposal of the spent mordant.

The literature search revealed the work of Cedric Green (2011) on galvanic etching and Alfonso Vega Crujera (2013). Both have experimented and written extensively on both their research and the history of galvanic techniques in printmaking. In personal correspondence Cedric Green suggests, “ There is a large area of unexplored techniques here for printmaking as well as other crafts”. The implication here is that exploration in this area could be fruitful not only for printmaking but also for practitioners in other disciplines. This also suggests that there is potential for learning from practitioners in other fields such as sculpture and jewellery making within the arts and from other disciplines such as science and chemistry from outside the arts.


The aim of the research is to:

1. Identify and research alternatives to traditional etching techniques used by artist printmakers.

2. Engage with and learn from printmakers and practitioners in other fields who are using electro etching and plating techniques.

3. Create a body of work using alternative techniques, such as galvanic etching and plating.

4. Undertake risk assessments and test the viability of alternative methods and techniques.

5. Share research findings and elicit feedback through a series of open workshops for artist printmakers.

6. To collaborate with other artists using alternatives to traditional printmaking to produce an exhibition of the work.


The objectives are to:

1. Identify and research potential alternatives to traditional etching.

2. Explore the potential of alternative techniques through the production of a body of work.

3. Provide a comparative assessment of the risks and viability of alternative etching techniques.

4. Provide a series of workshops and further develop and adapt research from feedback elicited from participants.

5. To host an exhibition of the collaborative work that shows the diversity of styles possible in using alternative techniques.

6. Share our learning and learn from practitioners in fields other than printmaking.

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