Insect Collection series: in progress, part 1

My night at the studio was kind of a bust in some aspects. I was waiting to mix my acid until I had more plates to etch so that the acid wasn’t sitting around, and when I got there the other night my designated tray (well, casserole dish*) was nowhere to be found. I’m trying to get in touch with my professor but am not having much luck– I want to talk to her about the acid, and about basic studio procedure. I had a better opportunity to check out the chemicals and equipment, and things are set up a lot differently than Alfred. I don’t want to create any sort of safety hazard or step on anyone’s toes, so I’m hoping to meet with her and get the sort of drill you might expect from an Intro class. That way I’m on the same page as all the other students here.

*One of the reasons I waited to mix it was that I was terrified that it would spill on someone. It was a small pyrex pan, covered with a giant piece of plywood that balanced so precariously I was convinced it would tip and spill on some poor innocent soul. Perhaps that’s why it’s gone– maybe it fell and broke. It was scary as, let me tell you. Not sweet as, scary as. I don’t know if Kiwi slang protocol smiles on the random insertion of other adjectives into that well-loved phrase, but I do it anyway.

I did find the plate cutter, which still brings a smile to my face any time I think about it. Our cutter in Alfred has a foot bar, and you usually need two people to jump on it (often repeatedly) to get the blade through the plate.

Penn State’s is motorized. You press a button, the motor starts whirring, there’s even an adjustable thing in the back to butt your plate up against, then you press the foot pedal, and ZZZZEEEWWWW!!! Baby plates, no hopping required. :D

So I got three plates cut~ 6 x 7 for the dragonfly design and 7 x 8 for the butterfly. And an extra 5 x 7 plate left over, dimensions that should lend themselves to another bug. Got them coated with hard ground; traced my designs on yesterday. I always have my sketch and then transfer it onto the plate by rubbing graphite on the back of the paper and tracing over the lines. Drawing freehand on the ground has never worked very reliably for me– you can’t erase it, and the pencil point digs up the ground. Ech.


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