bryn gleason

Community Spotlight: Copper Etching with Bryn Gleason

In this Community Spotlight, we take a look at Chicago-based artist Bryn Gleason and her Intaglio Copper Etching.

What is Intaglio Copper Etching?

In the most basic sense, Intaglio printmaking is a technique where an image is etched into a plate. Then the sunken areas on the plate are filled with ink. Finally, paper or canvas is pressed with the plate, leaving the image.

But to expand upon that a bit, Bryn does something more complicated. First, she uses a mixture of ferric chloride acid, steel hand tools, and polish to work the copper. For some of her more complex images, she will develop images from photographs onto a sticky film. Then the film is adhered to the copper. Next, she uses acid to to etch the image into the sheet. Finally, the film is peeled off and she finishes the etching with hand tools.

Once the image is etched into the copper, the plates are covered in a heated ink. Then the surface of the plate is wiped, removing the excess ink outside of the sunken areas. Finally, the inked plate is used to make her prints.

Bryn tells us that the entire process can take a few months to complete from start to finish. It is a somewhat tedious process, and many artists get frustrated by how slow it can be. Bryn specifically points out that to do this well, you have to make test prints of the unfinished plate so you can see where you need to make changes. Typically, she makes 5-20 test prints before finishing the plate.

bryn gleason

The full portfolio of her dark, haunting, aggressive, and riveting work is available on her website.

What materials are used?

Bryn prefers using copper plates over other materials to create her artwork for a few reasons. “Primarily, because it is an exceptionally beautiful material” she told us. Once she finishes making her prints, she sells the etched copper plates as a piece of art all on their own. And the copper is part of the attraction there. Copper is also reasonably soft and easy to work. As a result, several of her processes are easier and more efficient.

bryn gleason

Who is this amazing artist?

Bryn is an incredibly talented printmaking artist based out of Chicago. She studied Social Work at the University of Minnesota, where she graduated from in 2013. Bryn’s research revolved around Family Violence Prevention. She taught homeless youths, children from abusive homes, and she even traveled to Ghana and taught women there. These experiences left a great impact on her and her early artwork. Now, in Chicago, much of her work explored the diversity of the fascinating city she calls home. Also, her newest work focuses on the challenges endured by the Queer Community.

bryn gleason

An inked copper plate next to the print.

Interested in commissioning art?

Bryn loves working with clients to create something custom, whether its in alignment with her portfolios concepts or not.
She has experience working with musicians, restaurants, and people expanding their personal art collections.
You can also purchase digital images of the intaglio etchings at a fraction of the price, to inspire anyone who feels a connection to her work, no matter the art budget.

For the first time ever, she has one of her original copper plates for sale. An etching made of an angler fish, titled Ladyfish.

Her art is available at the following locations:

Etsy store:
Instagram: Bryn_Gleason
Email request: [email protected]

Her work can be shipped anywhere in the world and she is open to commission projects that are both small and large.

We love to see what are customers are working on, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a project you would like to share with us!

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