There are many alternatives to the traditional etching ground on the market, many of which advertise themselves as the safer alternative. This may be the case but from my experience this is often to the detriment of quality and practicality. This common problem has put many printmakers off from trying alternatives, preferring to stay with the reliable time honored system. Did you know that a traditional etching ground contains arsenic, lead, mercury to name but a few toxic elements which can not only be breathed in through your air ways but also absorbed through your skin. With ‘Big’ I feel I have not only provided a non toxic alternative but also a ground which is far more versatile. Because the main constituent is an ink it allows the artist printmaker to experiment with many different effects on their etching plate. Techniques ranging from soft and hard ground, photo etching, marbling, relief etching, sandpaper aquatints and coffee lift are but a few which can be explored. Big has been used at the School of Art University of Aberystwyth since 2002 and has been adopted in many other private and educational print workshops around the world. Trefeglwys Printmakers provides courses covering all the techniques which can be achieved with ‘Big’. If you would like to know more about this exciting ground or would like to try some out you can contact me through my email or just give us a ring.
Trefeglwys Print StudioMid Wales UK
*If at stage three you are covering an earlier etched plate, roll the plate up with a little more ground than you would for a bare unetched plate. Then with your finger work the ground down into the etched lines. When you are happy that this has been achieved you can then strip back some of the ground with a dry roller.
**If you want to use BIG as a soft ground to create impressions of leaves, feathers etc., tape a sheet of screen printing mesh larger than your plate to the bed of your press. After coating the plate with wet ground register the plate under the mesh and run it through the press (two
etching blankets are usually sufficient). A small amount of ground will be removed onto the mesh. Re apply the ground to the plate, place items on top and run through the press making sure you have placed the plate in the same position with the mesh dropped on top. Then, by baking the plate you can combine soft and hard ground techniques, if you wish, on the same ground.
For more information on BIG's versatility you can contact Andrew via firstname.lastname@example.org For film demonstrations on the technique used with the ground, go to my web site: