Week Two – 11Oct18

I have spent some time this past week researching artists that use photography in printmaking and stumbled across the work of Naomi Siegler Savage (1927-2005). An American artist creating etchings using her photographic images, more interestingly though, for me, she saw the etched plates as works of art in themselves, something I have often thought about with some of my own plates. Savage was very much inspired by the photographer and her uncle, Man Ray (1890-1976). She experimented with traditional photographic techniques and combined them with printmaking through photogravure and photoengraving as well as creating her own techniques resulting in some very interesting images and plates.


Peacock Feathers 1980s

Naomi Savage – Peacock Feathers c.1980s (Solarised Print)

As a member of a number of alternative photography and printmaking groups on Facebook, I see many interesting and inspiring posts from various artists from all over the world. One of these is Valerie D. Cargo from Ontario, Canada. This lady creates interesting images using a process called Wet Cynotype, although she refers to it as ‘Spicy Cys’. Mostly using found plants, cynotype chemicals (I presume) and ingredients from the kitchen cupboard such as turmeric, baking soda, salt, bleach and vinegar along with sun exposure, creating some mesmerizing images. I am currently researching this process further, hoping to have a go at creating something similar myself using cynotype and perhaps through using the etching process. Her website is www.valeriecargo.com and is well worth a look, despite not showing her ‘Spicy Cys’ work, her photography is very inspiring.

Valerie D Cargo - spicy cys

Valerie D. Cargo – Spicy Cy Print

During my week two tutorial AB and I discussed the various ways that I could begin the year, starting off by creating work from foraged, found things; plants, feathers, wood, rusty metal and experimenting using various processes such as soft ground etching, aqua tint, coffee lifts, using templates, various stop out techniques, rubbings using BIG ground, Cynotypes and my photography and see where these take me. I will continue researching found object printing, including wet cynotypes, as well as looking at my photographic images to see which ones I can bring into the mix.

In the studio:

Starting off by getting myself reacquainted with the etching process by preparing some copper plates and using the black soft ground along with some fern leaves.


Laying out items onto test plates. I decided to just start with two plates


First run through press with soft ground on plates and mesh, registration quite important here


First stage of imprinted Fern leaves in soft ground, with a little added mark making on the plate on the right-hand side using scrunched up tape. (The plate on the left did change quite drastically in the end, from experimenting with spraying lavender oil on it and swishing it about, shame I lost the lovely imprint, but this is all about experimentation and seeing what happens)


Off setting the fern leaves from the copper plates which had soft ground on them and laid them onto this prepared aluminium plate.

The next day I spent a few hours test printing the plates. One of the copper plates (with the single fern image that had pretty much been lost thanks to the lavender oil spraying that I had done the day before) was sprayed with some Aqua Tint to create ‘bite’ on the smooth areas of metal.


Copper plate soft ground etching. Printed in Sepia on white Fabriano paper


This copper plate soft ground etching has an aqua tint added also. Printed in Sepia on white Fabriano paper


Soft ground etched mini fern leaves off set from the copper plates onto an aluminium plate also printed in Sepia on white Fabriano

What next?

Print some more from these plates in my home studio between now and next Thursday (if I can get my press set up and working). Then, when I am back in the uni studio, print them on black Reeves paper using opaque white ink and possibly metallic ink powder. Experiment with rolling another colour over the top with a high ratio of extender.