Using this pothole as my focus I’ve been setting up sample plates which map its shape and structure, and allows me to experiment with plate thickness and material.
The samples are deep blind and inked embosses. The surface textures of a 3d printed plate are very uniform, I’ll be looking at ways of working with these.
Deep bite etching and aquatint on a zinc plate
I’ve been working on a zinc plate using using deep bite etching and aquatint. Based on the contours of specific potholes I’ve used the physical processes of etching to degrade the surface and remove sections of the plate in a more natural and less controlled method.
Following a deep bite etch to revel the structure of the ‘hole’ the stop-out was partially wiped away and the plate was put back in the acid. A combination of white spirit and meths was then poured on to the plate to further degrade the remaining stop out. The plate was put on a hot plate to allow the liquid to evaporate and layer of aquatint was then applied before the plate was put bak in the acid for another 25-30 minutes.
These plates are in progress and I’ll post more images soon.
Alongside the 3d printed plates, I’ve been creating zinc plates with multiple deeply bitten levels to build the physical form of the holes. The laser cut stencils makes applying the mask much easier and creates an accurate shape. I’m using aquatint, transfer print and drypoint to apply detail. This is a more traditional way to make the plate but uses the laser cutter for efficiency.
Ive been experimenting with 3d modelling from the clay casts, Multiple photographs from all angles were taken of the clay cast and imported into Autodesk Recap to create 3d models of the hole for printing. The cast immediately looked like a landscape surface with an ambiguous scale.
This is a test print of an actual road hole at a much smaller scale and at a total height of 1.5mm. I’ll be experimenting with printing isolated sections of road holes to test the level of detail and planning to make much larger plates by printing tessellating sections of holes at actual size. I need to work on reducing or utilising the raft that forms around the object during printing as I don’t want this in the final prints and it isn’t east to cut it away accurately afterwards.
I’ve created this circular test plate to work out the depths to create between layers, and how to apply ink to the plate for printing. The test plate is printed at low quality with creates quite visible lines in the surface which holds ink well, or can be sanded out for a smoother surface. The smooth surface can be left ink free, or ink can be applied and rubbed back which created a monoprint effect. Where the print has lifted slightly from the plate during printing it has created a more natural texture which in the plate which holds more ink and gives a stronger impression. Drypoint works well in the plastic and can be used for more detailed areas.