Printmaking and Whisky

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This Printmaking and Whisky clip shows some of the tools and equipment I use in the studio when creating etchings focussed on the whisky industry. I built up the drawing  onto the copper plate in several layers. Each layer exposing unprotected copper is bathed in acid. 

The acid bites into the bare metal. The length of time the plate stays in acid depends on the depth of incision needed. I draw with a common household needle, a knitting needle and the side of a scraper from an etching tool. After the acid bath the plate is inked up and put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper. The paper picks up ink from the etched lines making a print. I also leave a lot of dark areas of ink on the plate, carefully wiping to add tone, texture and atmosphere to the composition. Every print within a limited edition is therefore unique, because of the application of various wiping techniques. James McNeill Whistler, one of the principal American artists of the late 19th century, also used this technique emulating with a wide range of wiping effects of mist, sunset or night.

I primarily use copper plates, it is an expensive material, yet I like the softness of the metal and the quality of the final print. Although printing technology has advanced greatly, such as 3D laser printing, I still find that an etching gives an unbeatable depth to an image, and in my opinion, still, a unique quality. Although it is a lot of work to create an image like this, I am addicted to the satisfaction I feel at the end result. The above image shows an etched copper plate with an inscribed drawing before it is inked up and run through the printmaking press with a piece of paper. The image below shows the final print. Note that this is the mirrored image of the drawing on the copper plate.

Printmaking and Whisky featured in the press…

PICTURES: Drawings give a glimpse into traditions of the Scottish whisky industry