INTAGLIO (pronounced in-TAL-yo) is a printmaking technique with origins that date back to the fifteenth century.
Derived from the Italian word for “engraved” or “cut in,” it refers to the process by which an image is incised into a plate, creating recessed grooves below the surface of the plate (see sample plate to the left).
Common plate materials include copper and zinc, while newer materials including solar plates and ImagOn applied to PETG plastic.
Once the image has been etched or exposed onto a plate, the surface of the plate is then inked and rubbed with tarlatan cloth, a stiff open-weave textile similar to cheesecloth. Afterward, the plate is wiped lightly once more, leaving a thin layer of ink within the fine recesses of the image.
The inked plate is transferred to the bed of an etching press (see this example) and is covered by a sheet of dampened paper. A set of protective felt blankets covers both the plate and paper before they are run through the press. The tremendous pressure from the etching press’s cylinder forces the ink from the recessed grooves of the plate onto the paper, thus creating a print.