Electro etching is arguably one of the most environmentally safer ways to etch. It is by no means a new invention. Its roots date back to the early 19th century.
Etching is a means of engraving imagery and mark making into various kinds of metal plates with the purpose of printing the plates. In Western Europe, the process of etching began during the fourteenth century as a way of decorating metal (eg: armour or jewellery) and was not initially seen as a means for printing imagery.
Etching at Green Door
At Green Door, we teach and facilitate Acrylic Resist Etching, using Copper, Zinc and Aluminium on which to etch our prints. Not only is this process safer, but is also considered more environmentally friendly than other traditional techniques. In order to do this, we have removed all highly toxic chemicals used within traditional etching, which can be considered harmful to both the printmaker and the environment, and would also demand the use of a specially designed studio, with high level extraction filters and special protective clothing to be worn at all times. Green Door does not allow the use of solvents or acid. We depend upon the scientific use of acrylics in our grounds and we mix our own recipes to ensure that our materials remain safer than those used in traditional etching. Chemical salts are instead used to etch with, and rather than the traditional oil-based option we employ water-based inks, which can be cleaned with vegetable oil.
We have planned and adapted the studio around the use of Acrylic Resist Etching in mind, so as to comply with our ethos of being part of a safer and more environmentally sound setting in which to work. Using our processes, we have the facilities to produce etchings of the same quality as those of traditional processes, without the hazards to health or the environment associated with etching, whilst maintaining all the visual outcomes and effects that can be achieved with traditional etching.