July 21st—Of acid baths

 

IMG_2969So my book is coming out in the UK in 3 weeks. I’m pretty excited about that. There won’t be parades. The air won’t smell different. Yet, I’m full of humming hope. But I’m also scared. I don’t know what will happen. Will anyone read my book? Will they like it? To distract myself, I’ve been taking an etching class.

There is a moment when doing a hard-ground etch when you drop your plate into an acid bath. The acid eats away at where you’ve scratched your lines. It is impossible to know exactly how your drawing will come out. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the acid bites where it shouldn’t and leaves dark splotches. But if you don’t put the plate in the acid, you won’t have an etching at all. So you’ve got to dare to do it.

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I’m often suspicious of metaphors using visual art. It’s too easy to make it a stand in for writing. Visual art has its own powers and vocabularies. It has a physicality to it. It is so much more than a metaphor. But for now, I’m clutching my copper plates and my simile and trying not to be too afraid.

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