Monday, September 19, 2011

Steel facing plate

I got one of my plates steel faced at the print studio last week. That was a new experience for me and quite interesting to watch. I'm printing a fairly large edition with this plate (75) and after about half the edition I noticed that some of the aquatints were starting to wear down in one corner. I didn't want it to deteriorate more, so I decided to get the plate steel faced. I guess ideally you want to do that before you start editioning, but I thought better now than not at all. During the steel facing process, a thin layer of iron is plated onto the copper plate through an electroplating process. It doesn't change the image in any way, it just hardens the surface and therefore holds up longer to the printing process. Fragile surfaces like the aquatints can wear down during the repeated process of rubbing ink into the surface. I love the carbon coloured look of the plate, but it takes some adjusting with the wiping. I didn't quite know what tone to look for to know when I was done wiping, since I'm used to the reddish background of a copper plate.

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