Joyce Zavorskas

Joyce Zavorskas

Orleans, MA
Paradoxical Evidence, Etching/aquatint
18 x 15


I used an old tarnished copper plate that had been forgotten in a drawer for 25 years. I had just the day before completed a delicate 3-plate color etching/aquatint/drypoint requiring exact registration, so this odd plate was not carefully planned. This was to be an experimental plate, to test the limits of non-toxic etching procedures. I had etched complex multiple-plate aquatint plates in the traditional acid techniques for decades, and decided to try something more random, to allow for quirks and oddities beyond my control. The resulting print relates to my recent focus on the uncertainties and rhythmic oddities of natural forms, echoing the social and political unrest across the globe.


Bevel old plate
Open bite in ferric chloride 42 baume full strength for 20 minutes to remove tarnish
Degrease the plate with a Bon Ami and water paste made, or soy sauce straight from the bottle.
Rinse and dry plate with paper towels, then hair dryer.
Apply airbrush aquatint using Z-Acryl Polymer Hard Ground Emulsion in ventilated airbrush booth.
Etch plate in four stages, blocking out with Z-Acryl Stop-out, for a total of 80 minutes.
Dip in vinegar bath to prevent oxidation, rinse immediately, dry with rag and hair dryer.


Soak paper 1 hour, blot in bath towel, place on top of inked plate on press bed.
Apply Black Gamblin etching ink, wipe with tarlatan on the hotplate, then delicately hand wipe; clean edges with soft rag.
Print with American French Tool 36×60” etching press, firm pressure, two felts only.