Although we are now entering our 21st anniversary year at Double Elephant, we always look to keeping fresh and moving forward. At the moment we are having skills exchanges with each other and upgrading our skills.
As part of this I have been revisiting some of the intaglio processes that I’ve tried out a long, long time ago but haven’t indulged in for some time. With that in mind it was a delight to revisit mezzotint with Debby Mason. I did my first mezzotint in 1981 – and 35 years letter I’m happy to reveal mezzotint number 2 !!
Silk Aquatint (AKA Silk Mezzotint) is something I experimented at collage and when Double Elephant first set up, but hadn’t revisited for about 20 years. Carborundum is a material I have included in my collagraph making but haven’t fully exploited for all its qualities. Being me, I decided that a good way of getting myself up to speed with these techniques would be to commit myself to delivering a couple of special workshops. Several test plates and some prints in a variety of styles I felt ready to help other people embark on their first Silk Aquatints and first Carborundum prints.
Silk Aquatint is an inexpensive technique related to collagraph that can be used to create painterly intaglio prints which can be a low tech, safe alternative to etching. The process that also involves working from dark to light by progressively adding paint and varnish mixtures to a printing plate on which is fixed a piece of silk.
Carborundum printing is a process that involves a variety of ways of applying different grades of fine grits to an intaglio plate. Like the Silk Aquatint you can be quite painterly in your approach, but this time working from light to dark.
Not only was I delighted with the results that course participants achieved on the two respective courses, but I also found it very refreshing for my own practice to take a sideways step and get to grips with different mark making techniques. The Carbrondum was particularly useful in developing the new “Magnificent Mires” project.