PRINT MAKING at Morley College

This design based on a flower stamen was developed from a photo image taken with a macro lens and drawn in pen and ink. The idea was inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe.


I used a zinc plate, polished and degreased with a chalk and citric acid mix to enable a hard ground to be layed then ‘smoked’ which would allow for crisp line mark-making with a stylus.

The plate was then etched using nitric acid for 6 mins (20:1)

The ground and any stop was then cleaned off with paraffin, and the plate was inked up using a traditional, oil based ink, Paper was prepared by soaking for 5mins and blotting (paper on cheek test!), and stored under plastic sheet until ready for printing.

The plate was then placed on the bed of the printer on a sheet of tissue to protect the blankets from absorbtion of excess ‘size’ squeezed out from the paper during the print process; it also to protects the expensive blankets from any ink marks. The prepared paper is then carefully positioned on top of the inked plate and another sheet of tissue is layed on top of paper. The blankets are carefully placed on top of the assembly of tissue, plate, paper and tissue and the roller is turned to emboss the intaglio print into the dampened paper.

The resultant print


Note: finger prints at the top of the plate. The plate is highly vulnerable during the process and must be handled with care. I also noticed scratching across the image – this could be due to other plates coming into contact in the draw whilst in storage. I will cover plates with card and elastic bands next time. Other faults include ‘bands’ down the left and right hand  sides – this was due to stop-out used to protect the edges during ‘smoking’ of the plate. I will paint much thinner lines on each side next time – if at all.

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