Peta Bridle’s highly detailed drawings of cityscapes, shops, landscapes, and people have been delighting us at the print studio ever since she joined us at Boundary Wharf. She uses a diamond tipped tool to draw freely on acetate plates, for an intaglio technique called drypoint. Her work documents places or ways of life that seem out of time or maybe about to be lost.
The surface of the plate is scratched with a sharp point in order to incise grooves, but also to raise a burr. The burrs make the edges of the marks a little softer than hard ground etched plates, and they hold some extra ink above the grooved lines.
Inking up the plates takes some time, especially when you have such detailed work. Peta wipes off the ink in areas she needs to be lighter, balancing this with plenty of ink to print in the incised marks. Then she runs it through the etching press with soaked water that can squeeze into the grooves of the plate. Acetate plates are quite fragile, so they won’t withstand a print run like etched plates, but they don’t require biting with acid or metal salt solutions, so the results can be quite immediate.