For Prints' Sake

Research output: Non-Textual OutputArtefact


This practice-led research, entitled For Prints’ Sake, resulted in a series of prints that explored ‘less toxic’ techniques for etching print processes. The work was exhibited at the Huddersfield Museum and Art Gallery as a result of the Flourish Award for excellence in printmaking and the residency prize undertaken at West Yorkshire Print Workshop. The solo exhibition consisted of 32 etchings.

For Prints Sake represents a body of artworks that were produced during a residency at the West Yorkshire Print Shop. 32 prints were exhibited at Huddersfield Museum and Art Gallery. Less toxic etching methods were experimented and tested through the production of the prints.

There has been much debate within the Printmaking community both nationally and globally around the debate of chemistry and less toxic etching. This has brought into question the working methods of printmakers. Traditional methods of etching have not changed much for hundreds of years. Most technical innovations in intaglio printmaking originated in 16th and 17th century. It wasn’t until 1994 that Edinburgh Print Workshop began to embrace less toxic and water- based methodology. Less toxic techniques were the replacement of nitric acid and solvents which rendered intaglio printmaking essentially a new discipline.

The reason for the developments was a greater awareness of nitrous gases and more stringent regulations when using chlorine-based cleaning fluids and nitric acid.

“Friedhard Kiebeben has developed an improved variant of the copper sulphate etch for zinc with the simple addition of sodium chloride. Dubbed the Saline Sulphate Etch, it is three times more active than a straight copper sulphate solution, and produces a very crisp etch without the settled sedimentation and surface roughness of the Bordeaux etch.” (Flick and Grabowski,2015:111)

Printmakers can become obsessed with process as this can have a huge impact on the outcome of the quality of etching. I wanted to increase my own understanding and awareness of the chemical processes through practice. I also wanted to share this knowledge with the printmaking community at the West Yorkshire Print Shop through both exhibition and teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHuddersfield
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2015


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