Etching is a printmaking process that has existed since the. Middle Ages, but it only became widely applied to create paper prints as late as in the sixteenth century. A metal plate, usually copper, is covered with wax, upon which the artist ‘draws’ with a pointed stylus to create a range of lines. The plate is then inserted in an acid bath that ‘bites’ the plate.
To print this design, ink is applied to the whole surface and then it is wiped clean; the ink stays in the fine lines. The plate is placed on dampened cotton paper, covered in matting and pushed through a roller press, forcing the ink to transfer onto the paper. The number of times you can use a single plate is limited by the physical pressure of this process, which is why Ricceri’s print edition is limited to 150 copies, which are signed and numbered. Plates are re-etched or touched up to produce further editions.
Visit Andrea and Vittoria’s shop in via de’ Bentaccordi 1r, near piazza Santa Croce. Watch Andrea at work with this beautiful video filmed by Philip Giancola.
Stamperia D’Arte – The Art of Printmaking from Philip Giancola on Vimeo.