Julie Sutter-Blair Artist Statement:
My inspiration and passion is found in the natural world, and daily life. For me, the impermanence of those worlds is much of the beauty. Printmaking, especially etching, provides opportunity for detail, texture and surprises… all which I adore! I have enjoyed art, gardening, and the changing seasons all my life. My husband and I live quietly with our fun and energetic pup, Ruby.
About the process:
Intaglio Printmaking (pronounced in-TAL-ee-oh) includes a wide variety of techniques, but means the image is produced below the surface of a metal plate. My etchings, drypoints and mezzotints are intaglio prints and made on copperplates.
To make an etching, first I apply an acid-resist to the surface of the plate, draw an image with an etching needle through the resist to expose the copper beneath. The plate is put in an acid bath and the exposed copper is etched by the acid. The resist allows the acid to bite into the inscribed drawing without altering the remaining areas of the plate. It is the acid that creates the depth of the line, and the longer the acid bite, the deeper the line. The acid and resist are cleaned off the plate, ink is then applied to the plate and into the etched lines. I wipe the excess ink off the surface of the plate with the heel of my hand, being careful not to pull ink out of the etched lines or areas. The plate is placed face up on my etching press, and a damp piece of printmaking paper is placed over the plate. The plate and paper are pulled through the press, and under great pressure from steel drums of the press, the damp paper pulls the ink out of the lines onto the paper. That first “pull” is the first proof of the etched plate. For me, this process is repeated several times, adding more lines and etched areas to the plate based on the most recent proof. Once the desired image is in the plate and printing well, the platework is done and I pull the prints. Each one is inked up and wiped off separately, making each one original and slightly different from the other. To add color, after the print dries I paint each one with watercolor. On a few of the plates, colored ink is used at the time of printing.
For the drypoints, the image is drawn directly into the copper with my etching needle. There is no use of resists or acid. Drypoints are fragile, as the lines are not etched in, and do not hold up well under the repeated inking and pressure of the press. Editions are usually much smaller.