NON-TOXIC COPPER PLATE ETCHING
Polished copper plates are coated with a thin layer of a water soluble acrylic, called Z-Acryl. When hardened, this "ground" is scratched with a fine needle to produce a line drawing. The plate is then immersed in ferric chloride for several minerals. This non-toxic etchant replaces the corrosive nitric acid used traditionally. The ferric chloride etches the copper to produce fine grooves where the ground had been scratched. After removing the ground with common soda ash, the plate is inked and carefully wiped, leaving ink in the grooves on the plate. A print is then pulled on wet paper using an etching press. Areas of shading can be produced by spraying droplets of Z-Acryl onto the plate with an air-gun prior to etching in ferric chloride.
PHOTOGRAVURE USING SOLAR PLATES
A photograph is printed onto a transparent film using an inkjet printer. The film is then laid onto a photosensitive polymer-coated metal plate and exposed to the raw Santa Fe sunlight. The UV rays passing through the clear areas of the film react with the polymer and harden it. The image is developed by gently brushing the surface in water to remove the unreacted polymer. The plate is then dried and "fixed" with more sunlight to create the printing plate. The surface of this plate has minute indentations or "etch marks" that reproduce the original image. Ink is spread on the plate to fill these "pits" and then transferred to wet paper by passing the plate and paper through an etching press under high pressure. Thus, pictures of sunlight, made by the sunlight.
"Weird can be awfully beautiful when captured in photographs and solar etchings that show the ordinarily mundane up close and a little fuzzy."
From a review of my prints in The Santa Fe Reporter, May 2006