Janet Ayliffe  
The ArtistPaintingsEtchingsWood Engravings
Painter and Printmaker    

What is an Etching?

Intaglio etching is a process of printmaking in which thin flat printing plates have their surface etched into by chemical action under the control of the artist. This collection of lines and marks is filled with ink, the excess carefully removed and the surface cleaned.
Dampened paper is laid over the plate and both are fed through the press under great pressure. The plate is re-inked and subsequent nearly identical prints are taken, forming the edition, the total number of impressions taken before the edition is closed.
The number in the bottom left-hand corner of the large prints details the individual number and edition number. Many of my prints use multiple plates each linked with their one colour but printed over one another.
The technique was developed to a high standard in the 17th century by Rembrandt and later Goya, and the same processes are used today. Some of the little etchings use the traditional metal wax and acid method and others use the solar plate method with a light sensitive polymer, sunlight and water to etch instead of the more toxic acids.
The high quality materials ensure that etchings can last for many hundreds of years and have similar value in collections to painting and sculpture.
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