Medusa’s pumpkin head

Despite building emergencies and Christmas fairs, work has progressed on the etchings for the Medusa Calendar (for 2014). But I have been so busy with stuff I have not had time to post about stuff, so here is the next etching, printed yesterday… for October, of course:

Medusa's Halloween Mask - etching print
Medusa’s Halloween Mask – etching print

Quite pleased that this is both scary and jolly at the same time! On the technical side, if you are interested, the foreground stuff is created by etching the plate heavily and burnishing the highlights back in, in the manner of a Mezzotint print (except the actual white of the faces – that’s metal left un-etched). The background was a spur-of-the-moment idea that I am very pleased I took a chance on: I lightly abraded a protective stop-out surface on the metal with a bit of Scotch Brite (like a scouring pad), before dipping it into the etching solution. I did this several times so that all the little fine scratched lines were etched into the surface, some deper than others and some quite subtle.
It reminds me very much of a rough scratchy wall, not completely like my house but there is something in common there, and it was the initial inspiration so forgive me if I post the photo once more for illustrative purposes:

pumpkins on the wall, getting a little moldy now...
pumpkins on the wall, getting a little moldy now…

I have to admit that walls were not a thing I generally gave much thought to until two weeks ago, when a large amount of the side wall (this being the front) quite literally fell off the house. However, more on that in due course: I have discovered an artistic opportunity there…


  1. Fabulous etching. Where do you do your printmaking?

    1. It’s at Dove Studios, which is owned by Bronwen Bradshaw: – Bron has been making prints for years… eventually she became sensitive to some of the chemicals and so now runs a solvent-free and relatively non-toxic print studios using aluminium, not copper for the plates. No acid either – it’s a solution of copper sulphate and table salt, so, not completely non-toxic, but better than splashing around in nitric acid! You get a different kind of texture than with copper plates – in some ways the texture is coarser, but it has its advantages too – you can do a tone just by immersing the bare metal in the etchant – none of that messing around spraying resin dust on the plate first…

      1. hhmmm very interesting. We still do copper plate in Swansea but with Ferric Chloride instead of acid. I sometimes do drypoint using paper plates but I’ve never really got the hang of metal plate etching.

        1. Paper plates? How does that work then? I haven’t really tried drypoint – thought about it the other day when i wanted something I could get on with at home, but hatched lines do not work well for me so I thought I’d just make a mess!

          1. Intaglio Printmakers sell them, lightweight cardboard with a plastic coating. Very cheap and you get an edition of about 10 if you’re careful. I have a proper drypoint tool but a four-inch screw with masking tape wrapped arond will do. Maybe I should blog about drypoint?

            1. yes, do blog! but send me an email if you remember – i follow too many things and I might miss it! I will look up the cardboard things, though, sounds interesting, thanks!

            2. I will – I’ll try and blog it next week 🙂

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