Free Spirit ~ What is Intaglio Printmaking?
 
  Intaglio...(in-tal-yo) is a very old process of engraving, etching, and other techniques that cut into metal plates (usually copper or zinc). The earliest intaglio prints have been traced to the 15th century. The image is created below the surface of the metal, and a paper print is made from the inked metal plate.  
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The intaglio prints shown here are printed from acid-etched zinc plates. I control the acid biting on the plate by using grounds (a waxy substance that resists the acid) and aquatints (air brush or melted rosin powder) to create gray tones. Burnishers, scrapers and other tools are used to create other tonal qualities on the plate.
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Once the zinc plate is completed, I put intaglio ink on the plate and carefully wipe the plate clean, leaving ink only in the lines and depressions of the metal.
Then a dampened piece of printing paper is put on the plate which is placed on the press bed.
Then I roll them by hand through my heavy flat bed etching press by turning the big hand wheel. About a ton of pressure is applied as the paper and inked plate pass between the rollers.
After I pull the printed paper off the press, it takes about 2-3 days to dry.
Later I look them over and sign them and number the ones that are identical to my edition. The ones that come out differently are signed as artist proofs.


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