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Unusual courses

New and unusual courses – # – Alternatives to Etching

Third of the series of news postings about new courses at Double Elephant Print Workshop is what I’m calling “Alternatives to Etching”. Not to be confused with Acrylic Resist Etching – which is an alternative to traditional etching, what I’m meaning here are quicker, easier ways of achieving the feel of an etching using materials that would appeal to the more frugal printmaker who is also far from as time rich as you need to really learn etching.

Alternatives to Etching

Alternatives to EtchingThursday 13th and Friday 14th June, 10am – 4pm

Etching can be expensive, time consuming and rather daunting. Try out some ways of achieving the affects you would like with etching, but with affordable, non-scary and readily available materials. Prior intaglio experience required.

I started my fist forays into printmaking approximately 40 years ago. While I’m a bit of a process junky and enjoy experimenting with them all, it was actually etching that was my first love.

The sloshing about with acids to corrode metal plates was definitely part of the appeal. But with those first encounters as part of the conservation of prints and drawings course, I didn’t need to be aware of the costs or be aware of the hazardous effect on health and the environment.


Alternatives to etchingMany years later when setting up Double Elephant print Workshop with Simon Ripley, we were agreed right from the start that we would be as environmentally friendly as possible. It was at this time that there were great developments with Acrylic Resist Etching and we set up the workshop following Edinburgh Print Workshops experience. We etch copper with ferric chloride using a variety of acrylic paints and varnishes as the resists. But while the results can be highly satisfying, the process is can be time consuming and quite laborious for the more novice printmaker. Over the years I have found myself avoiding the cost of copper in favour of more economical materials and due to frequently having very tight time constraints I have found myself experimenting more with quicker more immediate materials.

The resulting printing plates are often a hybrid of collagraph and drypoint techniques, with a bit of carborundum thrown in for good measure. I’ve notice that when people first start learning collagraph, the plates tend to mainly be about cutting and sticking. That’s fine in itself, but if you were aiming at achieving the feel of an etching those textures and materials need to meld more into the plate and become a seamless whole.

I will be posting more updates on my Facebook page (& Instagram & Twitter) as I undertake more experiments and create teaching aids for this course.

I would be very interested to know what insights you might like to share about finding alernatives to etching.


Other one day and two day workshop coming up in May, June and July include:

Create your own Cine Collé; Practical Colour Mixing for Printmakers; Alternatives to Etching; Full Colour Multiblock Intaglio; Kitchen Lithography; Wet Ink on Wet Ink; and Printmaking for the Terrified!


Lynn Bailey

Through my artwork I look to say something about the environment - explore how we interact, use, abuse and collaborate with the natural world around us. This has taken me to increasingly focus on the small ubiquitous and often reviled weeds and bugs that form the foundation and engine-room of ecosystems. I use a wide range of printmaking techniques – both traditional and innovative, often creating complex one off prints. ****** Co-founder and director of Double Elephant Print Workshop since 1997. Originally trained in Conservation of Prints and Drawings 1980 -1982. Studied Fine art at University of Plymouth 1993 -1996.

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