Sunday, May 31, 2009

Water Etching

    This charm is an example of water etching.  The technique is fun, easy, and can be used to create different levels of depth in a work.  

    The technique is done by drawing a design on a dry clay piece.  Then, using nail polish, the areas that are to be raised are painted.  The polish acts as a resist.  It is a good idea to paint the back of the piece too as it can get water on it.  The edges can be painted to create a raised effect or left unpainted to recede.  Since this process removes clay, the original clay piece should be made several cards thicker to make sure it doesn't get too thin.  When the polish is dry, take a damp sponge and begin wiping across the surface of the piece.  Rinse the sponge and repeat until the desired depth is reached.  (Be sure to save the dirty rinse water..... there's silver in there!)  Texture can be added to the recessed areas (while they are still wet) with a stencil brush, using a stippling effect.


Convergent said...

I like this whole series of techniques you learned at Arrowmont, Alice.

Am I seeing this one right: you painted one edge and not the other, to illustrate the result of doing it each way?

I know that there's silver in the water, but what do you suggest as a good way to reclaim it?

And from the sponge? For that matter, how much does it matter what kind of sponge is used, from the really fine-pore (i.e., "cosmetic") to one with big holes (e.g., "car wash"), or anywhere in between?

So many questions, so much to learn... Thanks for sharing.

Alice Walkowski said...

Carol, yes the one edge was painted while the other was not. I would just wash the sponge out really good in the water, then let the water evaporate and reclaim the dry powder that way. That's what I do with the water I use to wash brushes.

I'm not sure if it matters what kind of sponge or not. We used small sea sponges and that is what I got for my upcoming class in water etching. I don't know why it would make any difference.