Archives for category: Laser Cutter

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Back in the etching studio again. Very quiet and peaceful and an entire art college printing studio to myself. Can’t be bad. Two plates on the go today. I worked on them last Thursday in here and I am trying to finish them off today. The two prints are left over from the summer school. Both are plates that Dom gave me, one a squareish one and the other more of a vertical rectangle. On both I have put on traditional resin grounds and worked through these again. One has been done twice and the rectangle is on it’s third ground, this last time with a motif from the old botany books that I have been using. These should be the last dip and they will be done. I have experimented with writing on the plates. One has lots of little, pretty obscure messages on from the summer school, Grayson Perry style with logos and so on and the other one has handwriting on. I also want to do something like ‘Another nice etching’ by the Chapmans. We’ll see how that turns out.

Last week I had another go on the laser cutter and this time much more successfully. I had trimmed down the image in Illustrator so that it was simpler and we reduced the size of the result by about 25% so that 24 fitted on the A1 card. The result took just over two minutes to do for each card and so the whole sheet only took 45 minutes or so. This meant that the individual card had less invested in it, as it were, so I am more likely to post them on, which was the intention – a postal art piece. I think this is the way to go; using the machine to make a ‘print’ type object rather than a plate. There is some exploring of the raster idea and the possibility of making a lino cut with the machine which I should explore further next year. The way the machine etches type is impressive and a lot easier that my trying to write backwards on an etching plate. There are photo etching options I could no doubt try out.

I gaveĀ David Page one of the tiles yesterday and he was intrigued by the effect. We discussed his adventures with liquid grounds and copper plates. He had made a very fine little ‘hunter in the snow’ etching on a tiny and very ancient press. This NUCA print studio is so well equipped for traditional techniques that the idea of doing etching in the shed takes a bit of thinking about.

David Page in his studio


Having survived the Belstead MA summer schools I have a complicated and probably over ambitious day in the NUCA print workshop planned. I have two plates to work on. One of them is the plate I made with Dom Theobald last week during Innovative Printmaking. We used a Lascaux water based etching ground which I used to paint on an image and then we dipped it in ferric before Dom gave it a couple of goes with the car paint aqua tint method. The result was OK but only a rather vague image. My intention has been to clean the plate and reground it traditionally to work over it again with some writing. Then finish off with another image drawn from the week in another layer. So far though it has taken most of the morning to get the blue stuff off the back of the plate as I have had to go and buy some Cif and a scourer to do it. I am about to reground it. The other plate is in the acid. This one has a thin layer of the blue stuff on and I have scratched an image through it based on the botanical images I found in the old books in the library room I was working in for part of the week. I am giving that a very deep bite to see what it does and will then probably reground it. The works is based on the learning journal work that I did at the summer school. This is finishing off the project really. This afternoon I am with David and the laser cutter to try to make a multiple where the object that comes out is the print – a probject, prinject or objint perhaps?

9.25 pm

A reasonably successful day. The laser prints more or less went to plan bar some fiddling about to make the thing only engrave the lines once rather than twice. The results are fine and pleasingly uniform. I ended up with ten and a couple of trials so an edition of ten. I did intend to post them out but they look a bit good for that and have taken more time than I thought. Back with a slightly simplified effort on Thursday to have another go at ‘printing’ another ten of Belstead Variation II. The etching plates I worked on between the laser cutting moved on. The one on the plate with the thin layer of acrylic ground etched quite well though it was difficult to get the ground off. It took half a bottle of Cif to do it. There must be a better way. The other plate I worked at lunchtime (to the bemusement of my bench mate) and redipped for an hour or so. I also printed the large plate with the shoes on but failed to get a successful print at all. Either over rubbed the aquatint or under rubbed, couldn’t get it right.

Had an interesting conversation with Sonya about the laser cutter. She was disappointed with the speed and power of the thing which restricts the usability of it and she pointed out that it had been bought mainly for textiles to flatten the nap of velvet more than anything else, which it is good at.