Juho Karjalainen

Printmaker, Dept of Art, University of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland


The Acid Wash - Sensitive Straight Etching on Copper


Many academic phases are skipped in this method. Varnish stencils are not needed during the biting process and the time does not need to be watched. I arrived at this method early on for the following reasons: 1. Drawing-like quality is intrinsic. 2. Importance of chiaro-scuro, painterliness and the combination of the above. I do not want to build form by “bricking”. Indirectness is intresting: the result is born through detours even though I detest the manipulation of the mind (the elevation into Art).

Process: Plate material: brass, sometimes copper and steel. Surface preparation: Aquatint rosin dusting. The right dusting is achieved manually. The plate must endure strong etching with nitric acid. Density and grain size are critical. The surface preparation cannot show as “snow flakes” in the work. Suitable rosins are dammar and colophonium. The etching is done with nitric acid. The intensity of the nitric acid can be easily adjusted. The disadvantage is the toxicity. An effective fume extractor is essencial. The rosin will also spread into the environment while dusting. A closed dusting cabinet is imperative.


  • demonstration


    rubbing demonstration