Intro to Etching (class)

Intro to Etching (class)


6:00 pm - 9:00 pm



Wivenhoe Printshop
23/24 Wivenhoe Business Centre, Colchester, Essex, CO7 9DP

Event Type

This short course is the ideal introduction to drypoint and basic chemical etching. It is aimed at beginner to intermediate printmakers, and is also an excellent refresher for printmakers who want to get back into etching. It’s also a recommended  intro for those who want to progress on to the Electro-etching course and workshop which we will be running after the October break.

The five sessions are designed to provide a general introduction to etching and drypoint. They introduce the student to drypoint as the simplest of the ‘etching’ processes. The sessions go on to the preparation of metal printing plates, the different surface qualities of the traditional and modern plate metals: Copper, Brass, Zinc, Steel and Aluminium. We will experiment with all these metals and see how they can be worked, how they take ink and the different textures which they give to etched prints. We will explore in some detail the two modern low-toxicity etching solutions: Ferric Chloride (for Copper and Brass plates) Copper Sulphate (for the whiter metals such as Zinc, Steel and Aluminium). We will make test plates using a variety of ‘resists’ and grounds which we paint or roll onto the plates and then scratch into. Scratched plates are then dipped into the etching solutions so that the chemicals can bite down through the scratches and deepen the grooves to create lines and tones of great depth and contrast. When etched we will clean our plates before inking them and making proof prints on our roller presses.

Over these five weeks students will get fifteen hours of taught time plus a further twenty-five hours time to use studio facilities (free if you are a Printworks Member). This is a great opportunity to explore the essentials of drypoint in plastic and metal plates, use of grounds and resists, chemical etching of copper plates, aluminium and steel or zinc, basic inking up and printing.

No previous experience of etching is necessary to take advantage of this course but it may also be used as a refresher for anyone who has done etching or drypoint in the past. The taught component of this course will be carfully structured but we will encourage students to explore and experiment particularly in their workshop time by finding their own approaches to combine art, craft and experimental printmaking.

The ‘Introduction to etching’ will also serve as an essential preparation for anyone interested in the ‘Electro-Etching’ programme which we will be offering after the October half term.

Please email course tutor John Wallett on for further details.


Bookings are closed for this event.

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