Mezzotint tools: Rockers, etching needles, burnishers, scrapers
Day one of Rockin' Mezzotint, a weekend workshop at the ICA Print Center, taught by special guest and visiting artist, Judith Rothchild. (See previous blog entry to learn more about Judith and the mezzotint process). After a brief history about mezzotint, developed in the 1640's and mostly practiced by engravers until the mid 20th century, Judith demonstrated how to "rock" a plate. She supplied everyone with a 2.5" rocker, a specific tool used in mezzotint to pit the copper. The tool has very fine teeth positioned along a curved edge. When rocked back and forth, the teeth pit the copper. We spent about 3 hours rocking our 3"x3" plates. Judith said it takes her about 5-6 hours to rock a 4"x6" plate. By the end of the day, we had rocked and burnished most of our images. We will print our first proofs tomorrow morning, and then continue to pull the light values from the dark, as we burnish more tomorrow. It was a fabulous day, and a real treat to be able to learn from one of the few Mezzotint Masters in the world.
Here is a taste of her gorgeous work! If you want to see more, be sure to visit the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, to see Judith Rothchild's mezzotint exhibition, "Black Magic", Feb 23 - Mar 18, 2013.