Project: Treads

Car and truck tires seem to have been in my peripheral vision lately so I drew a few and collaged them together to form a rectangular design.

Being such a fan of geometric and linear imagery I was pleased with this start. It was painstakingly traced and transferred to a Zinc pre-sensitised Mitsui plate and etched. I printed a trial run.

Oops, I missed etching a few of the lines in one corner but it’s quite attractive so I left it as is. I felt it needed more but was unsure what as it’s such a clean, uncluttered piece. I decided to apply some drawing inks to it.

OK, I like that. My next thought was to try to add tonal variation using aquatint and Bitumen blockout. I drew what I was hoping to achieve.

With three distinct tonal variations it meant a lot of precise work. I started by applying an aquatint layer over the entire plate surface. No mean feat as the plate slipped from my fingers twice while carefully transferring it from the aquatint cupboard to the heating rack. I heated and set the aquatint on the second attempt as to my (possibly not very accurate) eye it looked OK.

Bitumen was applied over all the areas I wanted to keep white. The plate was then placed into a 10:1 water/nitric acid solution to etch. Once satisfied I’d achieved what I hoped would be a light tone I then applied Bitumen to the areas to keep at that value and replaced the plate into the same bath for a time. This was done three times, hoping to get variations in tonal depth.

Did it work? Well, partially but not brilliantly. Frankly I think my hand coloured sample above is better.

I’ve pulled several black prints and can’t get solid coverage in the etched areas and some of the lines seem a little fuzzy now. I’m also not thrilled with the tonal variation. I’m mulling over what to do with it next. Options include hand colouring, chine colle or a roll-over, and possibly a different colour may look less patchy even though black usually gives good definition.

This might be one where the technical journey was interesting but the result is relegated to the not-so-successful pile. That aquatint obviously moved more than my eye could detect when the plate nudged a little before heat setting! I’ll do some more work on it later this week.

About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in Design Play, My Creative Pieces, My prints and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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