VERNIS MOU WORKSHOP

2/ 12/ 2017. Lužánky – středisko volného času. By Neda Madjar

Vernis mou (in french) or soft ground etching (eng) is my favorite printmaking technique.

Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in the metal.

In traditional pure etching, a metal (usually copper, zinc or steel) plate is covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid. The artist then scratches off the ground where he or she wants a line to appear in the finished piece, so exposing the bare metal. The plate is then dipped in a bath of acid. The acid “bites” into the metal (it dissolves part of the metal) where it is exposed, leaving behind lines sunk into the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate. The plate is inked all over, and then the ink wiped off the surface, leaving only the ink in the etched lines. The plate is then put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper (often moistened to soften it).

The paper picks up the ink from the etched lines, making a print. The process can be repeated many times; typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the plate shows much sign of wear.

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