Living in the mountains of eastern Washington, Susan Hedstrand takes every opportunity to travel to wilderness areas where she collects reference material for her art. Although she also works in watercolor and pastel, she is best known for her meticulous etchings. Hedstrand’s work can be seen at galleries throughout the Northwest.
In etching the image is created using a pointed tool on a zinc or copper plate that has been covered with an acid-resist ground. The plate is then immersed in acid to etch the lines. The plate will be cleaned, re-grounded, and reworked several times before the printing process takes place. When ready, the plate is inked and wiped clean, leaving ink only in the etched lines. Softened paper is then forced into the inked lines as it passes through the steel rollers of the etching press. Color can be added by hand-coloring or by using colored inks.
Because the plate must be re-inked for each print pulled, no two prints are exactly alike, giving fine art prints their unique qualities. Etchings are truly limited editions, since the metal plate wears down with each printing. At the end of an edition, the plate is destroyed.