This week I was again working on this stone you may have glimpsed before.
This is not my artwork. This is the work of Korean artist Lee Sang Yong. [See his studio that I stood in a couple of months ago to pick up the stone on this Korean website. Also his website appears to be down at the moment, else I would link you there as well.] He works primarily in slate making relief sculptures.
Pairing with his normal work this particular image was created using classic engraving lithography. A flat is created on the stone. The artist then scratches or engraves their image into the flat of black. These “non-image areas” are then treated with a mild to hot etch.
The problem that arose here was that the the non-image areas began picking up ink. To anthropomorphize, they started remembering their greasy, non-scratched history.
Once this was noticed during printing we applied a hot etch to the non-image areas to burn them out. This did not work as well as hoped. To save the image, printing was paused and a gum mask was applied to the stone to protect it.
The method we’re using to solve this issue is to go back and again scratch away non-image areas that have picked up ink. Here is about 30 seconds out of 4-5 hours of my work doing that.
Next a hot, 30-drop nitric, etch was then applied to the freshly scratched sections and daubed/diluted with water after it had run its course.
After all my hard work scratching we went ahead and applied a gum mask, washed out the old ink and inked the stone to see how much my work (and others’ scratching work) had affected our stone. To see if we had actually made any difference.
The verdict is that the stone and image were definitely in better shape, but it still needed a bit of work. The stone apparently has a stubborn memory in this regard. So we’re not quite printing it again yet, but should be soon.
Hope you enjoyed this bit of lithography process write-up. More next week!