Kick-start your etching practice! Join artist and WYPW technician Kate Desforges for this 10 week course, perfect for those who want to really focus-in on etching and all its wonderful image-making possibilities.
Over the duration of the 10 weeks, we will de-mystify the etching process and the language which goes with it, (ever wondered what ‘open-bite’ means?? Hint – it’s nothing to do with teeth.) We’ll cover all the fundamentals of etching, including hard-ground, soft-ground and aquatint, and then delve into the realms of sugarlift, spit-bite, soap ground and photo-etching, in a small, supportive group. There will even be time towards the end of the course to develop a personal etching project to put into practice all you’ve learnt.
An experienced etcher herself, your tutor Kate will guide and support you through each step of the process, and with only 6 students max on the course, you will have ample opportunity to ask questions. This course is designed to help you develop confidence and literacy in the various processes taught, and the drive to continue to develop your work using etching. By the end you will have built up a body of prints, and gained valuable knowledge and skills to allow you to continue to develop your work using etching.
We will mainly be etching zinc plates on the course, but you will also have the opportunity to work with steel. At WYPW we etch plates with copper sulphate – a less-toxic alternative to the traditionally-used nitric acid. We use traditional etching grounds and varnishes which are removed with low-odour solvents. PPE will always be provided, but for this reason we do not recommend this course for pregnant women, or for those with know allergies to chemicals. Please ask before you book if you are not sure.
Week 1: Intro and hard-ground – Meet the tutor and the rest of the group, get to know each other and what’s drawn you to etching. The tutor will chat about etching and its possibilities, with examples of both their own and other artist’s work for reference. You will then be guided through making a hard-ground etching plate to create a line drawing – preparing the plate, applying the ground, transferring an image, drawing, etching, and finally proof-printing. There will be a little bit of homework to do before the next session. (Not too much we promise!)
Week 2: All about aquatint – add areas of tone to the plate you made in the last session, and learn all about how the aquatint process works. Try-out a range of different resists to create a variety of etched marks. Re-print your plate to see how its changed.
Week 3: Soft-ground – Make an etching plate using soft-ground – experiment with making impressions into the ground, and create crayon-like drawing effects. Proof-print your plate, with time also to take prints of previous plates and experiment with different inking techniques.
Week 4: Sugarlift and Spit-bite aquatint – Try-out a different way of creating painterly marks on an etching plate, working in the positive, rather than the negative, and use spit-bite to create tonal gradients. Proof-print your plate.
Week 5: Getting experimental: Multi-plate printing with a collaborative approach – Start the day with some experimental drawing exercises to get you loosened-up, then work onto steel etching plates to create abstract images using sugarlift. Once the plates are etched, learn how to print plates in-register and print your plate on-top of or underneath someone else’s, to create multi-coloured, collaborative prints. (A bit of homework– selecting an image to use for next week’s photo-etching session, and a request to email it to us in advance of week 6’s session so we can print-out beforehand.)
Week 6: Photo-etching – Learn how to use photo-etch emulsion to transfer a photographic image onto an etching plate. Proof-print your plate.
Week 7: Soap ground and Tusche-wash drawings – Learn how to use an alternative ground to create painterly wash-effects, and lithographic tusche as an acid-resist. Proof-print your plates.
Week 8: Consolidate and develop – In this session we will take a moment to reflect on what we’ve learnt so far, and start looking towards developing an etching project of your own, using the techniques you have learned so far – this could be starting a new etching, or re-working one of the plates you’ve made during the course. Discuss your ideas with the tutor,, make a plan, and get cracking.
Weeks 9 – 10: Work on your own individual etching project, with support and guidance from the tutor, in a supportive group environment. Develop your confidence to continue using the print studios as a member.
Ideally you will have had a taster of etching before – either with us or elsewhere – but it doesn’t have to be much. Perhaps you did etching many moons ago at college or university and want to pick it back up again and see what’s changed.
All course prices include basic materials such as inks, paper, tools and equipment.
What should I prepare beforehand?
If you work best from source material then feel free to bring sketchbooks, drawings, photographs, etc, with you. However, this is not essential, and you can just make marks, let the process guide you, and see what happens! The standard plate size we’ll be working on is 12 x 15cm, although there will be opportunities to work bigger.
Useful to bring:
- Notebook, (handouts will be provided but you might wish to take extra notes)
- Phone / camera (many people find it useful to take process photographs to jog memory, but please be respectful of others who many not want to be in them)
- Pens/pencils, ruler, apron.
- A sturdy pair of rubber gloves which are large enough to get on and off easily, with your name written on clearly. (This helps us to keep disposable glove usage to a minimum and at the same time avoids sharing personal protective equipment).
Your tutor: Kathryn Desforges
Kathryn Desforges is a printmaker who creates process-driven, contemporary artworks which explore her preoccupation with ordinary, overlooked and in-between places. Her work germinates from a fragmented collection of drawings, photographs, memories and lived experience, and evolves through printmaking processes such as etching, lithography and woodcut, which enable a unique visual language. Material is important – carving, scratching and sanding back metal and wood reveals and covers up, helping to piece together fragments of ideas, distill and refine, and keep the physical act of making at the core of her practice. What results are re-imaginings – pieced together from snippets and fleeting glimpses of her everyday.
Kathryn’s work is held in public and private collections in the UK, including the Tate Library artist book collection. She trained at Kingston University, and has undertaken artist residencies at Intaglio Printmaker, UK, Mi-LAB, Japan, and a Post Graduate Lithography Fellowship at Leicester Print Workshop. Ever-hungry to learn and develop new print processes, her practice has developed through a symbiotic relationship with her career as a printmaking technician and tutor. www.kathryndesforges.co.uk
After attending a taster session, you will be able to join WYPW as a member to continue to practice the skills you have learned. Sign up for membership within one month of attending the course and you will receive a £5 discount. Find out more about membership here: https://www.wypw.org/shop/standard-membership/
- If you have to cancel:
- 16-12 weeks before the course: 50 % of the fee will be retained by WYPW
- Less than 12 weeks before the course: 100% of the fee will be retained by WYPW
- Please note that full payment is required for non-attendance on a booking that has been transferred.
- If we have to cancel: