Archive for category Subject: Etching

Etching: an artist’s guide || Ann Norfield

Etching is a subject that is difficult to cover in a single volume, particularly one that intends to be both an introduction and a creative guide. A fair amount of unfamiliar equipment is required, as well as a whole new range of techniques and terminology. It isn’t really something to try on a winter’s afternoon, but rather to embark on after serious consideration and with a fair degree of commitment.

Ann Norfield recognises all these issues and presents an overview that is perhaps of most use as a reader for someone whose interest has been piqued and is looking at the world of printmaking. All the basic information is here, from aquatint to photo etching, with a clear outline both of what is needed and what can be achieved. Interviews with other practitioners that punctuate the text provide different angles on the creative side of the process.

Given the bulk of some of the equipment required, the spaces and the safety considerations, it’s likely that a newcomer will be using a shared space and have access to advice from more experienced printmakers. However, a guide as thorough as this is useful – essential, perhaps – as background reading and for technical and creative insights.

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Colour Etching || Nigel Oxley

This small paperback condenses a vast amount of information and experience into its 128 pages.

Nigel Oxley founded the Kelpra studio, which produced editions for artists such as Elisabeth Frink, John Piper and Patrick Heron and the book is illustrated with their works, including stage proofs and inking notes.

Behind this is a well-structured manual on how to make colour prints, going through all the stages of the process from preparation of the plate to the pulls for each colour and the precautions, both artistic and safety related, that are necessary.

The way Nigel tells it, colour etching sounds almost like a simple process and he is excellent at navigating the many complexities and pointing out ways around the possible pitfalls. Work of this quality is, of course, beyond the novice, but the way Nigel tells it, there’s hope for even the most inexperienced printmaker. Anyone who is more than a little proficient and is aware of the mountain they have to climb, as well as those who are familiar with Nigel’s work and simply want to hear it from the master’s lips, will want this book.

This quietly authoritative series from A&C Black continues to impress.

A&C Black 2007

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Etching & Photopolymer Intaglio Techniques || Colin Gale

Printmaking is, generally speaking, an art followed more by the professional than the amateur. A quite heavy investment in equipment is required and there are some quite serious health and safety issues to be considered as well.

Nevertheless, everyone has to start somewhere, or just needs a basic handbook and this series is aimed squarely at those specific requirements. Anyone finding this review helpful will find it an advantage to follow the series link below and read about other titles from A&C Black on printmaking. The publisher has laudably not attempted to produce a one-for-all compendium but rather to concentrate on very specific areas and to do them justice individually.

This volume is aimed at artists interested in photopolymer technology, the use of light-sensitive materials which can be applied to a variety of backing supports such as metal, plastic or board. Colin Gale, founder of Artichoke Print workshop, also covers acids, aquatint, papers, presses and inks.

This is an authoritative look at a very specialised subject and one which is only likely to be visited in book form occasionally. The whole series brings the available information very much up to date and deals with the safe practice that has become a much greater concern and also the Health and Safety legislation that goes along with that. The book is well-illustrated with the work of a number of contemporary printmakers and contains, for the price, a very reasonable amount of colour.

Year published 2006
List price: £14.99

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