The Purple Printmakers utilise a range of traditional and modern printmaking techniques. These processes are used and often developed through experimentation, to create a variety of innovative and exciting, contemporary prints.
Etching: In this technique a metal plate is covered with wax ground through which the artist draws with an etching needle. The exposed metal lines are then etched by placing the plate in an acid bath which "bites" into the exposed metal, making lines in the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate.
The plate is inked all over and the ink is then wiped off the surface, leaving ink only in the crevices. The plate is then put through a printing-press with a sheet of dampened paper. The paper picks up the ink from the etched lines (intaglio printmaking), making a print.
Aquatint: This technique can be used with etching. Aquatint relies on powdery,acid-resistant rosin to create a tonal effect. The rosin is applied and heated to set it on the metal plate. Tonal variation results from the time that chosen areas on the plate are exposed to acid. To do this, the artist masks off certain areas of the plate with acid- resistant fluid. The resultant plate can be printed as for etching.
Solar plate: A solar plate is a prepared, light-sensitive polymer surface on a steel backing for artists to produce fine prints. Both positives and negatives can be utilized; intaglio and relief printing techniques can be applied.
Drypoint: This is achieved by scratching lines using a sharp pointed tool on an acetate or metal plate. The resultant plate can be printed as for etching.
Screenprinting (silkscreen) This creates prints by pushing ink through a fabric mesh mounted in a frame on top of the surface of the paper using a squeegee. The process may produce images resulting from stencils/masks on the mesh. This may involve the use of paper stencils/masks; stencils resulting from drawing directly on to the screen with masking fluids to block the mesh in certain areas; or creating photoscreens using light-sensitive emulsions and photographic images.
Monotyping: This is achieved by drawing on a smooth, non-absorbent surface and transferring the image onto paper using a printing-press. Ink may also be removed from the plate to create a subtractive image
Monoprinting: Here a wide range of collage-type material is placed on the plate. The material can be selectively inked and the image transferred to paper using a printing-press
In an alternative method, ink is laid down on a smooth surface and paper is placed on the ink. The back of the paper is drawn on, transferring the ink to the paper and producing a printed image.
Linocut: An image is cut into the linoleum surface (or a wooden surface for a woodcut) with a sharp tool. The lino is inked with a roller (onto the raised surface-relief printing) and the image is transferred onto paper (often using a printing-press).
Collography: Here collage-type materials are glued to a board and the board is sealed with varnish. The plate can be intaglio-inked, or inked with a roller (relief printing) and the image is transferred onto paper (using a printing-press).