Anyone who has hand-rocked a copper plate using a mezzotint rocker will know how much hard work is needed. All the effort does however seem worthwhile when the results are surely the most stunning examples of chiaroscuro possible in intaglio printmaking.
Commercially prepared 'pre-mezzotinted' plates are available, but these do not yield such rich, deep tones as a plate that has been rocked in the traditional manner. The reason is that the former are made using knurled rollers that produce a fine though shallow burr in the metal. Traditional mezzotint rocking tools, because of their shape, cut more deeply into the metal surface creating a deeper stronger burr and hence a greater tonal range available to the artist.
Maywood's Mezzotint Copper Plates are made using best quality traditional mezzotint rockers made by Lyon's. Each full sized plate is individually crafted using a specially adapted pole-rocking system which not only maintains constant pressure and angle of the rocker blade to the plate surface, but also controls rocking motion and spacing to give a perfect 'pass'.
Available in 30 standard sizes from 50 x 60mm to 300 x 300mm using 1.2mm copper sheet. Rockers used are 65 line (medium), 85 line (fine) or 100 line (extra fine). Larger sizes up to 1200 x 1200 mm available on request. The diagram above shows 12 of 24 directions of passes, each plate is literally 'rocked around the clock'. This gives a minimum of 24 complete passes to create a deep, richly textured ground.
Please note: plates can be customised as a variation of these directions to give a particular weave to the surface ground, minimum size for this service is 300x300mm, but at no extra cost.
Maywood's Mezzotint Copper Plates offer the finest traditionally rocked mezzotint plate with the potential to render the tiniest detail and greatest tonal contrast without all the hard work.