Hnizdovsky Etchings

In contrast to woodcuts and linocuts (which are relief printmaking techniques), etchings employ the intaglio technique (recessed grooves). Extremely fine detail is possible, and shading is accomplished by cross-hatching. A metal plate is coated in a resin or "ground". The design is then carved onto the metal plate with a tool similar to a dentist's hand tool. The plate is placed into an acid bath, and areas that have been intricately carved will be etched away, creating tunnels on the metal plate. Ink is applied to the plate, settling into the grooves cut away by the acid. The plate is wiped clean, dampened etching paper is placed on top, and both are pushed through a specialized etching press with high pressure. The dampened paper absorbs the ink from within the grooves. The etching is then hung up to dry. One can feel the raised lines that made their way into the grooves to pick up ink from the plate. The borders of the plate will form the well recognized etching plate impression on the surface of the paper, creating the embossed look that easily identifies a true etching.