Slower

Etching is a slow and involved process. Last Thursday evening I made 17 prints from 3 plates.

  1. Polish the zinc plate
  2. File the bezel and round the corners
  3. Seal the front with ground, the back with packing tape
  4. Draw, scratch the image in the ground
  5. Etch the plate in the acid bath
  6. Remove the ground from the plate
  7. Tear printing paper to size (no cutting!)
  8. Soak the paper in water
  9. Ink the plate
  10. Wipe the ink away (leaving ink only in the etched grooves)
  11. Wash your hands!
  12. Take printing paper out of the water
  13. Remove excess water by putting the paper between dry newsprint sheets
  14. Set the right pressure for the printing press
  15. Put a newsprint paper sheet on the press’ table
  16. Lay the inked plate on the press table (inked side up!)
  17. Cover with the damp printing paper, another newsprint sheet and the felt cloth
  18. Turn the wheel, make the print
  19. Pull back felt and newsprint sheet
  20. The big reveal: take the print from the plate. Did it turn out well?
  21. Put it in the drying rack or discard

Go to step 9 and repeat.

Like it or not, each step is necessary and must be performed deliberately and in the right order to get results. It’s a ritual. The ritual enables concentration and getting into the flow.

When you feel you’re losing control over your work, or just don’t feel like it, even if there’s a deadline looming…

Go slower. List all the steps. Remove the like or dislike. Make it a ritual and concentration and flow can happen.

Each step is necessary and must be performed deliberately and in the right order to get results.

Go slower, you’ll finish sooner.