Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pamela DiMauro’s multi-plate etchings and gravures give life to the gallery!

Pamela DiMauro has created etchings of plants that are layered with abstract backgrounds, and colors that are not always literal. In these, multiple phases of the plants life are viewed simultaneously. Each print is like a portrait of the botanical, capturing its personality.

DiMauro was kind enough to demonstrate the etching process during her reception. Etching is part of the intaglio family of printmaking techniques. What they all have in common is that the design is below the plate surface.

To begin with, the blank copper plate is coated with an acid resistant material called hard ground. At New Grounds, we use Z-Acryl hard ground which does not require any harmful solvents to be removed from the plate. Instead, it is water-soluble when wet, and comes off with a mild soda ash solution when dry. A design is now drawn on the coated plate (not shown here) which exposes the copper underneath. It is made permanent by immersing the plate in ferric chloride – it literally etches the drawn lines into the plate.

The plate is now ready to be printed. To do so, ink (at New Grounds we use water soluble Akua intaglio inks) is carded over the entire plate with strips of mat board.

Once the plate is covered completely in ink, the excess is removed first by using strips of mat board and then a very stiff cheese cloth called “tarlatan.” To remove any excess plate tone, newsprint is used to wipe it off the surface.

The inked plate is now placed on the press bed, and it is covered with a sheet of printing paper. At New Grounds, we prefer Hahnemuhle paper because it is extremely absorbent.

Plate and paper are then covered with printing blankets which cushion the impact of the roller as the plate and paper are moved through the etching press. Note that the only purpose of the press is to apply very high pressure to the plate. We use Takach presses at New Grounds.

Now, Pam returns to repeat the steps above with the second plate which is being printed in an orange color.

The finished print!

Here are some clients who were admiring her finished piece. Thanks to everyone who made it out tonight and especially to the volunteers who helped make this show a success!

Joe Montano our newest intern

If you missed the reception, Pamela DiMauro’s show “Conservatory” runs through November 27th.

Regina Held, Director

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