While at the Dayton Printmakers Co-Op, DPC, yesterday I had an impromptu introduction to the rosin aquatinting process. Up until this point, I’ve only used spray enamel in my aquatinting ventures. (For those interested in aquatint I encourage you to research the process, I initially learned about this in a classroom setting but do recommend conducting independent study. A book I have referenced on numerous occasions is Ruth Leaf’s Etching, Engraving and Other Intaglio Printmaking Techniques).
In a simply rundown, aquatint is a process that involves the application of tiny acid resistant particles to your matrix. Application can be conducted in degrees of coverage. The goal is to achieve a range of tonal washes within your composition. It can provide a tonal richness to the final print.
Doug, DPC member, informed me that rosin is the more traditional of the aquatint processes and requires being ground into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle. He then went on to describe two methods of rosin application. The first is by simply dusting the ground rosin onto your plate. The second, which sounds more fun, involved a box/cabinet which can rotate 360-degrees. The rosin powder is placed within the box, the box is secured and spun for several rotations; spinning allows the rosin dust to fill the box’s cavity. The box is then opened, plate inserted and as the rosin settles, thus creating a fine, even dusting on the plate.
I love being physically connected to my work, it is one the reasons why I make sculptures & prints. There is something so intimate about altering a mass of material. You have to get close to the surface of what your working with, put force and intention behind what your doing. It creates a real connection to my work. Needless to say, the minute Doug showed me the motor and pestle used to grind the rosin, I knew I had to try it.
More adventures to come…