Traditional etching is commonly created by working on a copper or zinc plate. The plate is covered with a thin layer of wax or varnish (called a ground). With a fine engraving tool an image is scratched into the wax, the plate is then introduced in a bath of acid- or other eroding liquid. The acid bites down into the lines of the wax and creates these same line in the metal plate. This allows for very fine details to be created.
Once clean the printmaker will use a special oil based inked to rub into the lines, wiping away any excess from the smooth surface of the plate. This will be put through a press with a sheet of damp paper. The combination of the soft, pliable paper and the pressure of the press means that the lines will be printed onto the paper.
Etching for us is a way to create fine-line images that we can print multiple times, you just need to have a look at some of our recent results to give you an idea of the possibilities.