Printmaking 101: Intro to Non-Toxic Etching

"Renewal Haiti," Solar-plate etching by Terry Svat

Non-toxic art processes are all the rage lately, and printmaking is no different.  Intaglio (etching) in particular has seen many innovations to make is a safer process.  Two commonly used processes, Electr0-etching and Solar-plate etching, are described below.

Electro-etching is a new spin on the 500 year old art of etching.  Its main claim to fame is being a non-toxic eco-friendly form of metal etching.  Unlike etching of the past where acid is used, electro-etching uses a direct low-voltage current to render an image on the plate.  Electro-etching can be used on both zinc and copper-plates.  Another benefit of electro-etching is the furrows created while etching tend to be a lot more even and controlled in comparison to the furrows created by submerging a plate into an acid bath.

Solar-plate etching is another new technique focused on the trend of non-toxic printing.  The results are very similar to traditional intaglio but results are washed out with water instead of acid.  The process involves a transparent film being over laid with a solar plate and then exposing it to the sun, transferring the drawn image to the plate.  Unlike basic intaglio printing of the past a solar-plate etched image does not appear in reverse, but true to its drawn orientation.


One response to “Printmaking 101: Intro to Non-Toxic Etching

  1. Reblogged this on Travels with Mary and commented:
    Wow! I love this post! It is so hard to find artists that use non-toxic supplies. Thanks for the post