Who knew that the Scratch Negative Process would be so freakin’ awesome. This is one of the greatest’s things I learned while at Penland for the past two weeks. The Scratch Neg. How I love you!
What is it you ask?
You are not going to find too much about it online. Steve Miller teaches it at University of Alabama, and I am sure there are other places where it’s taught as well. We at PRESS would love, love, love to have a platemaker so we could do it here. (A great naming/gift opportunity, don’t you think!)
The scratchneg is a fabulously direct process for creating relief plates that looks a lot like an etching but without the toxic process. Essentially, you draw/scratch old negative material with your image, expose it to a polymer plate and then print it. Simple, right?
What you need:
- already exposed negative material that you get from a big printing company, if you can
- sponge with water
- drypoint needle, awl, pin tool, some sort of sharp and sturdy metal tool
- Determine which is the emulsion side, may need to test with your tool to see which side allows you to scratch
- Wet the negative using a sponge
- Work on a flat hard surface. Flat negative=flat plate
- Scratch right-reading as you make your negative. You can flip it in the plate-making process. Keep design within a quarter inch of edge of negative.
- Once drawing completed, blot dry then let dry completely before making plate.
At this point, if you are lucky enough to have a polymer platemaker you would make your plate. If you don’t, you have a couple of options, try to DIY the exposure and development process, or send your negatives to a place like Boxcar Press and see if they can make you a plate. Once you have your plates back, set up your base, adhere your plate and print!