Thursday, 3 May 2012

Non Toxic Etching

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating in a non-toxic, environmentally friendly etching class run by printmaking sisters Annie Day and Robyn Erza.

Set in the beautiful grounds of the Bowral District Art Society a group of us learnt how to create etchings over a weekend using aluminium plate and products available from the local hardware store (water based bitumen used for sealing roofs as the resist, and a copper sulphate solution to etch the aluminium plates)

Bowral District Art Society workshop behind the gallery

Transfering image from sketchbook to aluminium plate
Along with the large presses available in the workshop, Annie and Robyn brought along their own mini-presses (in the foreground below). A fabulous idea and I now aspire to have a mini-press in my studio too!

Creating images on the plate was simple, using an etching needle to draw the lines, and a brush to apply the bitumen. Annie and Robyn supplied VCA (Vegetable Cleaning Agent) which is a safer alternative to turps.
Aluminium plate with bitumen resist (dark areas)
The plate in copper sulphate solution etching bath
Continuing to explore imagery from my cottage I created the following images: 

The Lounge Room 8 x 10 cm
Mantle Piece 8 x 10 cm
The Kitchen Chair 8 x 10 cm
The Kitchen 10 x 13 cm
I had such a lovely time, and the results were fantastic. Best of all they were non toxic, environmentally friendly and you could continue to create the plates from home or your own studio. 

I look forward to creating some more images which will be exhibited later this year at M16 in Canberra in a joint exhibition with photographer Jocelyn Rosen (exhibition will run from 13 - 31 September 2012).

A big thank you to Annie and Robyn for such a wonderfully creative weekend x


  1. How wonderful! I love this idea and its great you can create more designs in your own studio without needing lots of expensive or technical equipment. The finished prints are really cute -I particularly like your Lounge Room and Kitchen prints. Lucy x

    1. Hi Lucy
      It was a fabulous course and great that the ideas can be applied at home. I now really want a little press so I can print in my home studio!
      Love your work too :)



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