Because I have had pet photography clients tell me how much they wish they would have done a session with their past pet, I’ve been thinking about a way to provide a beautiful tangible tribute to also include these special companions up on the wall along with their current pet’s artwork: a real WOW piece to honor their memory!
My Grammy, a fine artist, had introduced me to printmaking, specifically etchings, a few years ago as she was perfecting the printmaking craft herself immersed in many classes furthering her love of art. She encouraged me to attend a printmaking workshop 3 years ago. It was here in this classroom I was brought back to those college days of beautifully dirty ink-on-finger hands, paint-stained sinks, and watching each miracle unfold from just an image to a WOW piece of art! To tangibly hold a smooth, thick piece of felt-like paper with ink mirroring man’s best friend dug deep into my heart and stayed. Today, the ability to create a permanent memory with ink and paper has been brought to fruition with my Grammy’s printmaking press and her encouragement to lug that 271 pound tabletop press into my own house to start creating these magical works of art.
What IS an etching? An etching is the process of making a picture on a metal plate via a source of light burning the image into the plate. An impression is then pressed onto paper from the inked plate.
1. First we chose a photograph with proper highlights and shadows and exposed it with light to a plate (a sheet of metal with a light sensitive chemical) so the image was burned onto the plate. Then we chose the ink color, mixing it while seeing the push and the pull of the ink on the acrylic surface and hearing the tap, tap of the squeegee as we smoothed the ink and started applying it to the plate.
2. Once the plate was inked, the color stuck in the etched groves and we wiped off the excess ink to get it ready for the press.
3. The fine art German Hahnemuhle paper has to be soaked in water to be ready to receive the ink. Then the paper was lined up on the press.
(These are my Grammy’s hands. Note the ink on the fingers! ;-))
4. Next, we lined up the paper and plate and let them roll through the press!
When we gently lifted the paper, the suspense hung in the air as we anticipated what the fine art print would look like. Was there enough ink? Were the dark areas too dark? Light areas too light? My Grammy exclaimed, “Just like Christmas!” as our printmaking instructor often exclaimed while lifting the paper from the press. This print came out perfect on the first run!
A few more examples of prints we had created in the past trying different tones and inks:
Finally, a finished framed artwork ready for the wall and another for the shelfforever ourselves
If you’re interested in having a handmade etching WOW piece of art for yourself, please email me the image you love of your pet and I’ll let you know if it a viable image for an etching. If you don’t have a picture you love, I’m happy to come to your home to photograph your companion there. This would make a beautiful Christmas gift! Gift certificates are available if you are thinking of this as a heartfelt gift for a loved one.