ETCHING AND AQUATINT
Various forms of intaglio printing have also been part of the Kinngait Studios’ media, including copper engraving and etching. In etching, the impression is made by pushing the paper into inked depressions and recesses in a metal plate. First, an acid-resistant substance called a ground is applied to the surface of the plate. The artist then draws the image through the ground using an etching needle, and the plate is immersed in an acid bath which etches or “eats” into the drawn areas. In printing, the inked plate is laid face up on the flat bed of the etching press and dampened paper is placed on top. The paper is then covered by several layers of felt blankets and the complete sandwich of plate/paper/blankets is run through the press, compressing the felts and forcing the paper into the recesses of the etched plate. The paper pulls the ink out of the recesses and the impression is made. Aquatint is often used in conjunction with linear etching and engraving as a method of etching tonal areas onto the plate.
Saimaiyu Akesuk drawing on an etching plate © William Ritchie