Tag Archives: Dan Welden

Visit with Dan Welden, Developer of Solarplate Etching

Dan Welden visiting Washington Printmakers Gallery

Dan Welden at WPG

On Dec. 3,  eleven WPG members and two guests gathered at the Washington Printmakers Gallery in Georgetown to hear a talk by Dan Welden, the inventor of Solarplate Etching, an innovative and safer alternative to traditional etching and relief printing. Dan was in town to teach a weekend workshop at Pyramid Atlantic–luckily he had time in his schedule to provide us with a private “mini lecture” in Georgetown. Dan gave a fine, generous and informative talk about the new and improved Solarplate product, and showed two portfolios: one a collection of about 20 artists working with Solarplate, and another portfolio of his own work. The works were vibrant and varied. Some prints were extremely photographic and monochrome and others loose, abstract and colorful.

Pauline Jakobsberg's plate

Pauline Jakobsberg’s plate

Two members of WPG, Pauline Jakobsberg and Marion Osher, attended the workshop on Friday and Saturday, which allowed them to become familiar with the new plates and methods. On Friday, Dan demonstrated some techniques such as using a grease pencil on glass, which transfers to a solar plate, and results in an image resembling a lithograph. Saturday the class participated in a “loosening up” exercise on the plate which turned into a beautiful print by the end of the day. Pauline and Marion observed that there are many approaches to using the plates and much more to learn.

Pauline Jakobsberg's print from solarplate

Pauline’s print from solarplate

Dan will be teaching at Provincetown, MA and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY this summer. For more information about solarplate intaglio, please visit: www.solarplate.com

Dan has also offered WPG members a show in Long Island along with preparation for a portfolio for which he could give assistance in plate developing and printing in his nearby studio. We look forward to this exciting opportunity!


Printmaking 101: Solarplate

I have been noticing a lot more solarplates of late in the gallery, and so have visitors!  My number one question last month was, “What is a solarplate?”

Carolyn's Solarplate of the Wharf in the printeDCircuits portfolio, made from a photographic negative

A solarplate is a photo-sensitive etching process developed by Dan Welden, with whom many WPG artist have studied directly (Rosemary Cooley, for one).  Instead of using acid to etch a plate, a light-sensitive polymer backed by a steel plate is exposed to the sun (or other light source) and then rinsed with water.  Artists use either a photographic negative (like Carolyn Pomponio’s print to the left) or a black and white drawing on acetate or other clear material (like Matina’s print) to make their image.  Anywhere that isn’t exposed (the black parts of the drawing or negative) are washed away and create the traditional etching depressions that hold the ink.

"Foreseen," solarplate etching by Matina Marki Tillman.

As you can see from the two prints, solarplates can look very different!  Drawings, of course, will look different from photographic works, and then if an artist prints it in a special way (using two or more colors, for example) or combines it with other printing techniques (see some of the works by Terry Svat on our website) the possibilities become limitless.  We have two prints hanging in the members show this month that use Solarplate, and many more in the perusal bins.  Come in and see if you can find them!