This art form is quite technical and formed the early beginnings of printed illustration and photo reproductions made in the 15th and 16th centuries. Printmakers would prepare the artwork by firstly painting a dark golden syrup-coloured paint called lacquer on a thin sheet of zinc or copper. When dry, the paint could be carefully scratched off, just back to the metal plate. The plate would then be dipped into a bath of acid that would ‘bite’ away at the exposed metal to erode the metal and create fine indented channels of each scratched mark. It is these marks that hold the ink for transfer onto paper.
Today however, we can use simple polymer plastic as our printmaking plate, which is a much faster process. My students used steel etching tools (similar to a sharp metal skewer) to gouge their design into the plastic, which was hard work but lots of fun.
The making of the plate is only half of the creative process as a printmaker then uses their plate, be it metal or plastic, and smears with goopy ink to the grooves. Many different creative effects can be achieved depending on degree to which the plate is wiped back, and paper stocks used. The plate is sandwiched with a dampened fine art paper and rolled through a heavy printmaking press to leave a reverse printed impression on the paper.
The resulting artwork is indeed an art piece that is different from posters and other reproductions made by mechanical or photographic processes.
We were fortunate to have Father Savio join our class and shared the story of The Stations of the Cross. He is a skilled artist and keenly learnt a new skill with the students.
The printed works will be part of a permanent display in our new Chapel in Nickol block. Congratulations to our fine artists. We are proud of your wonderful prints that will illustrate the Easter story of the crucifixion of Jesus.