Work the process, one step at a time
Etching is a slow and involved process. Last Thursday evening I made 17 prints from 3 plates.
- Polish the zinc plate
- File the bezel and round the corners
- Seal the front with ground, the back with packing tape
- Draw, scratch the image in the ground
- Etch the plate in the acid bath
- Remove the ground from the plate
- Tear printing paper to size (no cutting!)
- Soak the paper in water
- Ink the plate
- Wipe the ink away (leaving ink only in the etched grooves)
- Wash your hands!
- Take printing paper out of the water
- Remove excess water by putting the paper between dry newsprint sheets
- Set the right pressure for the printing press
- Put a newsprint paper sheet on the press’ table
- Lay the inked plate on the press table (inked side up!)
- Cover with the damp printing paper, another newsprint sheet and the felt cloth
- Turn the wheel, make the print
- Pull back felt and newsprint sheet
- The big reveal: take the print from the plate. Did it turn out well?
- 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.