Art of the Accident: Etching Final Book

During the art of the accident project I attended an etching workshop, further information can be found here, and as part of that workshop I produced a variety of hard and soft ground etching prints. These prints were based off my photography done at Brighton Beach as part of the art of the accident project. My prints were inspired by my close up photography of rusted and eroded metal, and the mark making within the etchings aims to convey the textured surface of those forms.

For assessments I made my collection of etchings into a book. All of the etchings within the book are the original prints. The book is hand bound using Japanese stab binding and has two covers made of copper pearlescent card. I choose to use copper pearlescent card as it is similar to colour and metallic appearance of rusted metal, furthermore I used this card for the covers of my art of the accident book, therefore by using the same material for the covers it links the two books together.

Fine Art Printmaking Year 1

Fine art printmaking present an exhibition as part of our editioned print project. Our work spans a variety of print techniques and mediums, stemming from the traditions of screen print, relief, lithography and etching as well as the photographic and digital. 

Escarpment by Jill Flower

The print above caught my eye in particular from this exhibition held by first year fine art printmaking. During my latest group critique for the project “art of the accident”, Andy Vella suggested that for the cover of my book for my final outcome I could print onto metallic paper, therefore this print onto metallic gold paper relates to this idea. The print itself is also similar to some of the work I had produced for the project, gestural and focused on mark making, conveying a sense of texture.

It does not say how this print has been created, however from the design I assume it to be a relief print, possibly a linocut or an etching. I have previously explored etchings within my work and I would enjoy returning to the process to create the cover of my book, however for my final outcome I wanted to increase the scale of my book to a3 and an a3 etching plate would be quite expensive. An A3 piece of lino on the other hand would be much cheaper to use, although the quality of the line would not be the same it would create its own aesthetic.

Art of the Accident: Group Critique

The feedback that I received during the group critique for my book was very positive, the tutors and the other students enjoyed the work that I produced and the feedback given was to help move the work on.

It was suggested that the book should be more monumental and could be printed A3 or A2, however due to printing costs the largest I could print the book for a reasonable price would be A3 spreads with A4 pages.

Another suggestion was that for the cover of the book I should consider using iron filings to actually rust the cover, however this process would be quite time consuming. I could also choose to screenprint with metallic ink or use metallic card and laser cut into it. There was also the option to laser cut into a metal cover, however attaching covers to the book may put too much strain on the binding and tear the book apart. I chose to use metallic card for the cover, online I purchased 300gsm pearlescent card in a copper colour resembling rust, this card is also dyed all the way through therefore when trimmed the edges would remain a copper colour and not go white. I decided to not laser cut into the card a gaining access to the laser cutter during this busy period leading up to deadlines across all courses and years was difficult.

For the final presentation of the book it was suggested that I contain the book within a thin metal box that needs to be cut into to access the book, however once again gaining access to the facilities needed to create the box is too tricky during this busy period, I would also need to be inducted into the workshops as previously I am not.

Finally it was suggested that I add text to the book, this could be scientific information about rust or a timeline of rust. I chose to include scientific information on rust as this book includes photographs from both Brighton and Portslade, therefore two very different kinds of rust are documented meaning two separate timelines would be required which could cause confusion if documented throughout the book.

Cass Pad Competition

Brief: We’re giving one lucky winner the opportunity to be featured on the front cover of one of our award-winning pad ranges. An exclusive print run of your custom design will be available to buy online and in-store at Cass Art. Shortlisted works will be selected by CEO & Founder of Cass Art, Mark Cass, Head of Design at Cass Art Naj Ellwood and award-winning designer Angus Hyland, Creative Director at Cass Art and Partner at design consultancy, Pentagram.

The competition requirements were very open as the design did not need to have a concept and could be created using any medium, the only requirements were that the image was 203 x 206mm. As I am currently working on the materials, processes and art of the accident project I decided to utilise one of my experiments with print for my competition submission. Many of the current CASS Pad designs are abstract prints, therefore I thought the medium would fit well into their range, however I did want to make my work stand out and therefore contain a slightly figurative aspect.

I choose to use my favourite etching taken from my etching workshop, this can be seen below. I believe that the overlapping of imagery and linear qualities are figurative but also maintain an abstract quality when zoomed into and cropped.

Soft and Hard Ground Etching Inspired by Rust

Below are some thumbnails I produced where I played with different crops into the image. For my final design I selected the last crop.

After some editing using levels and colour balance in Photoshop I finally produced my CASS Pad design. I really enjoyed creating this competition entry, the openness of the brief allowed me to choose whatever imagery I saw fit and therefore utilise my etching prints which I really enjoyed producing for my current project. This also meant I had the opportunity to enter the competition and possibility gain publicity through it, without having to sacrifice spending time on my university work to produce an entirely new outcome for the competition brief.

Etching Induction

In the print workshop I was inducted into the process of etching. We began by creating a hard ground etching onto a zinc plate. The process for doing this is as follows: file the edges of the plate at a 45 degree angle, polish the plate, rub the plate with degreaser, rinse the plate, dry the plate with a hairdryer set to cool, heat the plate and apply the hard ground with a roller, leave the plate too cool, scratch in your design, place in the acid bath for 1o minutes, rinse the plate and finally print. After experimenting with a hard ground we created another plate using soft ground, this uses the same process however the soft ground never sets, so instead of scratching the design into the surface a design can be traced on or an object can be pressed on.

Brighton Beach Rust Photography

For my hard ground design I scratched the photograph above freehand onto the plate. I chose this image as I believed the linear qualities of the texture would work well as an etching. Furthermore the imagery I chose was from my art of the accident project therefore my prints could be used as part of my materials and processes experimentation. I then played with printing the plate in black and orange inks, orange to represent the rust colour. I also experimented with printing onto newsprint, for my project I have been experimenting with the idea of creating a book printed onto transparent materials, as I couldn’t print a plate onto tracing paper or acetate I choose newsprint instead. This was a challenge as the paper was to fragile to be soaked in the water bath so had to be sprayed with a water bottle instead, however the print did turn out successful.

Below are my hard ground etching prints:

Hard Ground Black Ink Etching

Hard Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching onto Newsprint

Hard Ground Black Ink Line Work with Orange Overprint Etching

For my soft ground design I traced the photograph above onto the plate. I then used my fingers to create tonal areas.

Below are my soft ground etching prints:

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Second Print Etching

In my opinion my these prints were highly successful, especially the prints where I have overprinted black and orange ink, and hard and soft ground plates. Therefore I hope to find a way to incorporate them into my final book.