Etching Featured on Mary E. Hutchinson Site

June 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

Cathedral St. John the Divine

Currently featured on Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at http://meh.omeka.net – “Cathedral St. John the Divine,” etching (ca.1929).

As a student at the National Academy of Design in New York, Mary E. Hutchinson learned to work in a variety of media including the art of etching which was very popular in the 1920s.  She viewed the Cathedral of St. John the Divine from her apartment window every day and made both an etching and a drawing of it.

Hutchinson began etching in January 1929 and wrote her mother, Minnie Belle, a detailed description of the process:

“I can stay in the etching class all right I think, but I have such loads to learn!  Mr. Leavy came in yesterday morning.  So Friday afternoon I worked, lay[ing] another ground on a plate, and printing the trial plate I had made.  Part of Thursday I worked in the room, biting my trial plate.  I certainly make lot of slips, with no one to tell me much.

You first take a zinc plate, clean it with the finest emory paper and then benzene.  You put the plate on a stone, holding it with a vice.  When it is almost hot enough to sizzle (but it must not sizzle), you rub rosin on it through a silk rag; then with a rubber roller, you roll the wax very evenly, and very thin on the plate.  The heat of the plate must be just right to do this, and your pressure just right, and even the most experienced often have to lay a ground three or four times before it is right.  The coating has to be very thin, yet perfectly cover the plate.  Any part too thin, or a tiny porous place like a pin mark, the acid will bite through.  When the ground is on right, and the plate still warm, it is smoked then cooled.  That is all I had better explain at present.”

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§ One Response to Etching Featured on Mary E. Hutchinson Site

  • Trying to research two very lg. figure drawings by, “Mary E. Hutchinson.” They are an African Chief, “I presume,” in two different times in his life. I can send photo’s if you would like. I wanted some background on her and the artworks. Your blog supplied the bio. for her. I also am an artist and our daughter & husband head the STEM program at Forsyth County, Ga. She and I are also artists, as was my mother who was antique dealer in Sav. Ga. and bought these for me. Thank you for all the info. you gave on the site.

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