About my work




About Plaster Prints

Artist in Residence - Quetico Provincial Park July 2008

Steps in Printing on Plaster:

Step 1                                     Step 2                                     Step 3

I print both etching and collagraph images on plaster and 100% rag (cotton) paper.  If I print an image on plaster, it will be indicated.

Each piece is an original print made from an etched zinc plate or a collagraph plate. It is not a reproduction but an original piece of artwork in its own right. 

An etched plate is prepared by: 

Transferring a drawn composition to the zinc plate
Biting the composition into the plate by drawing with a steel point and/or using various resists and different strengths of nitric acid to eat away parts of the surface to different depths. 

A collagraph plate is prepared by:

Collaging various materials or objects onto a plate (either masonite, matboard, or linoleum) in a predetermined pattern to create textures that will have a planned compositional effect
Sealing the textures onto the plate 

Once the plate is prepared by either of the above processes, etching ink is applied in what is called the "intaglio" method. The ink is rubbed into all of the impressions and then wiped from the surface so that raised and/or flat areas are wiped clean (producing white/light tones) and recessed areas contain varying amounts of ink, depending upon depth and texture (producing grey and black tones). 

Normally, these plates are then placed on the bed of an etching press, covered with rag (100% cotton) "paper" and run through the press manually by the artist (one run = one print). Because there is no "original" to be reproduced, each print is considered an original. 

Plaster printing of the above plates is not unique, but is a highly unusual way of producing an original image. The plate is inked in the above manner, placed face up (usually in some sort of frame) on plate glass, and covered with plaster which is just about to set (Steps 1 & 2 Below). 

During the pouring, I add a piece of screen with screw eyes attached so that the completed piece can be hung. After about half an hour (depending on environmental heat and humidity) the plaster has just set and is not yet "rock hard". At this time, the whole piece is turned over, frame and plate removed, and "voila" the plaster has picked up the ink, resulting in an original print on plaster. Both ink and plaster are permanent, but must be handled with care (Step 3 Below). 


I sometimes coat the image of these prints, leaving a smooth sensuous plaster border. Some care must be taken not to scratch the surface of either the image or the border. Please handle your print carefully. Once hung, it should be out of harm's way, however it will collect dust. Do not hang where airborne grease will accumulate on the print. If you notice that it needs to be cleaned, and dusting will not suffice, remove from the wall, cradle in your arm, hold under room temperature running water (medium pressure) and gently rub under stream of water to dislodge dust. Return to wall to dry.

Test of Plaster Prints - outdoors on my shed facing south (24/7 for 7 years )

Send mail to pauline@bigbrush.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 2009 Pauline Horricks Artist
Last modified: May 03, 2012