Etching by goldsmiths and other metal-workers in order to decorate metal items such as guns, armour, cups and plates has been known in Europe since the Middle Ages at least, and may go back to antiquity. The elaborate decoration of armour, in Germany at least, was an art probably imported from Italy around the end of the 15th century—little earlier than the birth of etching as a printmaking technique.
Etching is a method of printing where hollowed out parts of the etching medium (usually copper or zinc plate) are filled in with printing ink which is pressed from the grooves onto dampened paper as it passes through a printing press.
The lines which form the picture are drawn (or scratched) through and acid-resistant ground to expose the metal with an etching needle. The hollowed out areas are created through the action of acid applied in particular places, i.e. 'etching'.
Etching allows the artist to create a more than one print from a plate, called editions. All of the etchings available on this site are from limited editions and the number of prints available for purchase are indicated.
Although linoleum as a floor covering dates to the 1860s, the linocut printing technique was used first by the artists of Die Brücke in Germany between 1905 and 1913 where it had been similarly used for wallpaper printing. They initially described these prints as woodcuts, which at the time sounded more respectable.
This form of printing is now often referred to as Relief Printing. Lino, wood, metal, rubber foam, even vegetables can be used as blocks or plates in relief printing.
A relief print is classically created by starting with a flat surface (lino or wood) and then removing, by carving, areas intended to print white. The remaining or protruding surfaces of the printing block is inked, while the recessive or carved areas are ink free.
Printing the image is a matter of bringing the inked, protruding areas into firm contact with paper. The back of the paper can be rolled or pressed by hand using a brayer or roller or a printing press.
Lino/blocks allows the artist to create a more than one print, called editions. All of the lino/block prints available on this site are from limited editions and the number of prints available for purchase are indicated,
A mono-print is a single impression of an image; rather than printing multiple copies of a single image, only one impression may be produced, either by painting or making a collage on a block (glass, cardboard, wood etc.).
An edition is a number of prints struck from one plate, lino or wood block, usually at the same time. This may be a limited edition (a fixed number of impressions produced on the understanding that no further impressions or copies will be produced at later date) or an open edition (limited only by the number that can be sold or produced before the plate/block wears).
Most modern printmakers produce only limited editions which are normally hand signed and numbered by the artist, typically in pencil. The first number is the number of the print itself, while the second number is the number of overall prints the artist has printed of that image, e.g. 2/6 indicates that the print is the second of six prints the artist has printed in that edition.
Each print in an edition is individually hand inked and printed which may result in some slight variations from print to print.
Artists will sometimes refer to a print as a 'one-off', meaning that the artist has made a unique print with no reproductions; these are called mono-types or mono-prints.