Combining Printmaking Techniques
Evan Summer, Department of Fine Arts
Mr. Summer's specialty is printmaking, a subject he has taught at Kutztown University for over 25 years. His current project combines the techniques of etching and collagraph on single printing plates, creating images that have the clarity and precision of etchings and the rich, textural qualities associated with collagraphs.
Etching is a branch of traditional printmaking in which a metal plate, usually copper or zinc, is covered with an acid-resistant coating called ground. Tools are used to scratch through the ground, exposing the metal plate. The plate is then immersed in acid, which reacts with the plate wherever metal has been exposed by the artist's tools. The acid eats into the plate in these areas creating depressions. These steps can be repeated many times and in numerous variations to create lines, tones and textures.
The collagraph is a form of printmaking developed more recently in which the plate is constructed by an additive process. Therefore, this printing plate is really a collage, built of a variety of materials that are glued together and covered with an impervious coating that protects the plate from the oil-based inks and solvents used in printing and cleaning it. These plates, both etchings and collagraphs, are hand printed in small editions.
Both etching and collagraph are common printmaking techniques, but very few printmakers combine them. By combining both, Mr. Summer hopes to create a plate surface that would be impossible with either etching or collagraph alone. He believes these surfaces have relevance to his images and the potential to enhance them.