of these pictures are limited edition prints - this means that
only a certain number will be made before the plate is cancelled.
Most of the work is in editions of forty or fifty. Each print
is numbered: the first number indicates the picture's place
within the edition, the second number shows the size of the
edition. Therefore a print that is marked 5/40, is the fifth
print out of a total series of forty. Often the term print is
used very loosely to mean all sort of mass produced images.
Limited edition prints are very different as each one will have
been handmade: individually inked ,wiped, printed and signed.
etchings are produced through the following processes. A highly
polished copper plate is covered in a thin layer of wax called
a ground. A sharp tool is then used to draw with; the point
of this tool scratches through to the bare metal. The plate
is then placed in a tank of ferric chloride for about thirty
minutes. Most of the plate is protected by the wax but the drawn
lines are deeply etched or bitten, by the ferric, into the copper.
To produce the image, the plate is covered in a thick etching
ink which is driven into the bitten lines. The surface ink is
wiped off the plate with scrim and tissue paper. The wiped plate
is then printed using an heavy press which forces damp paper
into the etched marks on the plate. This process produces a
picture is always a mirror image of the drawing on the plate.
So for many of the prints the drawing is reversed before putting
it onto the wax ground. When working with lettering or with
a specific architectural grouping which need to be retained
accurately the drawing is reversed, using a computer.
order to produce tone and shading, an additional technique is
applied, this is an aquatint. A dusting of rosin is shaken onto
the copper plate and then heated tokeep it there. The plate
is placed back in the ferric chloride for a few seconds. When
it is removed the areas which are to be the lightest in tone,
are covered with a varnish to stop the ferric from affecting
them further. The plate is put back in the ferric for some more
seconds and the process is repeated building up to an immersion
of about forty minutes to generate the darkest tone. It is then
inked ,wiped and printed. The areas that have been longest in
the acid before being covered in varnish, will be the darkest.
The acid is biting the plate around the tiny particles of rosin
and, is building up the tone in minute dots.