Printmaking is a difficult approach to artistic expression. Since the
viewed image is actually a mirrored image of the template, right becomes left;
backward becomes forward. The artist then is a printer of original prints in which
the artist first draws the image, then transfers it to a plate or block and then inks
it. Each print needs inking and a manual press is rolled over the plate and
paper. These are called multiple originals. They are always of
low numbered limited editions. For example, if the number on a
print is 3/25, that means the print is the third one printed out of a total of twenty
Do not confuse these originals with printed reproductions, which are
done in a print shop and are produced in large quantities. Following are the two
processes utilized by Milda Spindler for her
The Etching Process
The making of etchings is a complex process requiring a talented atist
and specialized studio equipment and various chemicals. The printmaker draws an
image on paper. The artist transfers it to a metal plate, usually copper or zinc,
which she has covered with an acid-resistant coating. She uses a needle tool to scratch
through the coating to expose the metal. The completed plate is etched in an
acid bath. The acid removes and alters the exposed image in the metal and provides
definition and relief. A proof is made for the artist to inspect
the quality of the work. Then a limited edition is printed. Thus,
printmaking provides deferred gratification for the artist who may spend several days and
even weeks to produce that first acceptable proof. For each print, the plate must be
prepared and inked. The print is made, then the plate is cleansed and prepared for
the next use. When completed, the prints are allowed to dry then signed and numbered.
The plate is destroyed when the edtion is complete. This insures their uniqueness.
Relief (or block) printing is done on a wood block or piece of
linoleum. The artist draws an image on the block, then cuts away the
negaive spaces so that only the image remains. The block is then inked evenly.
A piece of rice paper is placed over it, and the image is
burnished. For each print the artist has to ink the block and hand burnish it.
These are multiple originals as each one must be hand printed.
Spindler Last Update 06/08/02.