Monday, November 16, 2009

Alaska Metal Arts Guild ~ Metal Etching Workshop

I'm a member of the Alaska Metal Arts Guild. It's a fairly active group of metal smiths from all over the state of Alaska. We've had some fabulous workshops & this past weekend was no exception. Gary Kaulitz at the University of Alaska taught a two day class on techniques to etch metal. Gary is a print maker extraordinaire so he was able to tie in some cool lithography techniques. I was excited to take this class as I've been researching chemical metal etching for some time but have never had the time to pull it all together.

The class focused on copper etching using ferric chloride. A film positive was made using "Imagon," a photosensitive film, after exposing it to ultraviolet light. A soda ash wash rinses out the film which is attached to the copper & then the copper is ready for the etching. All in all, a fairly simple process but one that has many steps.

The picture above shows my design on my acetate film prior to the etching & the finished copper plate after it was etched in the ferric chloride. I love the mermaid image & I planned to use the spirals at the bottom for jewelry items ~ or not, because after the etching it looks like cool border art. The detail is fabulous!

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