these two pieces of work are what the two recent images were for in the first place- these are plates made from an old copper tank that have been etched with a photographic image using the gum arabic transfer method then treated chemically to corrode then polished back then painted out white then printed onto, still not finished but i really like them both, the photo’s don’t really capture the subtle imagery and texture in the plates, i keep trying to be more direct with my work but seem to be veering off into the world of subtlety as usual :-)
i’ve been given to play with this amazing stuff that mike and cath just had in their store room in the art department- its copper mesh, it’s so fine it looks like fabric it even feels like fabric except thet it’s really heavy compared to cloth and if you mold it around stuff it holds it’s shape. the thing i like about it is you can see through it, so i could print onto it and then layer it in front of another image and that image would show through- very exciting, i imagine it’s awfully expensive though, makes it seem very precious.
these are the original images i was working from printed as paper lithography with the idea of using in layers of prints and printed onto metal.
so i’ve been experimenting with etching very thin metal, an old aluminium Litho plate that i tried to etch using ink from a gum arabic transfer as the resist and etched in copper sulphate- not the most successful it definately etched but not particularly around the image although it wasn’t the best image really.
I also tried the copper foil with a gum arabic print again and it took about an hour but etched really nicely i think i’m going to do some more small pieces like this. It is going to be practical i think when trying to etch a large piece as i should be able to fold it carefully into the tank although i think creasing is going to be an issue.
i can’t believe it is only three weeks till the end of term, we are spending four days with small groups of pupils in the last week making sculptures for what is going to be a sculpture park in the school grounds. The plan is to make a large wicker dragon and also small flowers made from aluminium sheeting and copper mesh, i think it’ll be really fun. i have also offered to make a sculpture for the park incorporating themes of my work and an environmental theme as the plan is to power it with a solar panel.
My idea is a 5’/6′ high sculpture made of copper foil that i have etched with drawings backed onto a tougher metal and sculpted. i am hoping the copper foil will etch through in areas and the metal it is backed with will shine through. The image i have in mind is of tree roots pushing up a concrete pavement in an urban environment, giving the impression of nature reclaiming its environment and reminding the viewer of the power it has.
I have also thought about asking the kids what their thoughts on the environment are and maybe getting them to write it down and incorporating that in the piece somehow.
This is all very ambitious and so far have ordered copper foil and only just had a chance to test if it etches well or not which it does but now i need a large amount and the only stuff i can find is from abroad, not great for an environment themed piece of work!
oh and the other thing is the solar panel idea- i want to run water over the thing so the pump would be powered by the panel and the water would corrode the copper over time adding to the message of the power nature has to break down materials. it would also give the piece a very elemental theme, water, metal, earth (trees) etc. and the copper would go beautiful colours and give the sculpture a feeling of it living.