FEATURE

Etching

Etching was originally invented as a method for adding decoration to armour during the Middle Ages. Artists began to use metal plates for printing in the 15th century, when Albrecht Durer made work on iron plates. Later artists such as Andrea Mantegna in Italy and Rembrandt in Holland went on to make etchings on copper.

TECHNIQUE

Etching

Etching was originally invented as a method for adding decoration to armour during the Middle Ages. Artists began to use metal plates for printing in the 15th century, when Albrecht Durer made work on iron plates. Later artists such as Andrea Mantegna in Italy and Rembrandt in Holland went on to make etchings on copper.

Traditionally a metal plate, usually copper or zinc, is coated with an acid-resistant material called ground. Using a sharp needle, lines are made through the ground, revealing the plate beneath. The plate is immersed in a dilute acid bath and the acid etches the plate where it has been revealed, making grooves in the surface of the plate which will then hold ink.

Apart from this traditional approach, there are many other ways of preventing the acid from ‘biting’ the plate, using varnishes, sticky tape or spray paint to provide resistance to the acid. Aquatint, spit bite, sugar lift and white ground techniques allow more painterly marks.

The endless possibility of this technique is the really exciting thing about etching.

Learn more about Etching

Etching: Hard Ground | 3 Tuesday evenings | October 2024

Whether you are looking for a greater understanding of the hard ground technique or are a complete beginner to etching, you will come out of this three evening course with new skills and unique prints.

See more

Etching Year | 40 weeks | Mondays | September 2024

This Monday evening class is a unique opportunity to build your etching skills over the course of a year. The HAUSPRINT Etching Year is designed to provide stable building blocks for your printmaking future, whatever your starting point. Over 40 weeks you’ll be guided through a specialist programme delivered over three terms which teaches the principles of etching. 

See more

More Features

All features

Drypoint

Using a sharp pointed tool like an etching needle, an image is scratched into a flat polished sheet of metal such as copper or aluminium. Plastic or card can also be used.

See more

Carborundum

Abrasive carborundum grit (silicon carbide) is mixed with acrylic medium or glue and painted onto a flat surface, such as plastic or metal.

See more

On Siss / Phuss: Ziqi Xu in conversation with Livia Wang

“It’s all because I want to see myself, I want to see those unnoticed moments, how they pass by, what is really happening. So that makes the work very personal.”

Artist:
Ziqi Xu

See more

Newsletter

If you would like to hear more from us, email the studio to receive our monthly newsletter.