Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog on printmaking.
This is day 2 of a 4 day workshop during my printmaking residency at Umbrella Studio, Townsville, Australia.
Everyone was eager to get started with dissolving their sugar-lifts. We poured warm water into trays and placed our plates face up. The process was a little slow to begin with but after a while we started to agitate the water and gently rub the surface of the hard ground to help dissolve the sugarlift.
We discovered that the gouache was very hard to remove due to the thin application and the fact that it dried hard before applying the hard ground. So it was decided that thick and soft/not yet fully dried goauche would work best.
Some members of the group decided to experiment with a home made sugarlift and decided that they preferred it over the gouache and commercial sugarlift. They liked the consistency and the fact that it dissolved quicker and easier than the others.
Once we all had removed the sugarlift and coated the back of our plates with shellac we excitedly went out to the back to mix the Copper Sulphate etch and start etching our plates.
The acid was fresh and strong, so the plates were biting fast. We found that the best surface was created on the zinc by dipping the plate in for 30 seconds, washing it off and re-dipping it into the Copper Sulphate to created a nice aquatint surface.
The Aluminum bit beautifully, creating the best surface out of the two metals. I highly recommend Aluminium over zinc for an aquatint surface. The aluminum bites similar to zinc in nitric acid.