You can’t beat a good old railway arch. Always atmospheric, you really do never know what you’ll find inside one these days, when they are not in the midst of being gentrified at least.
In Peckham, the arches there are full of small businesses and start ups and this is where Inspiring City alongside a host of other art blogging types was invited to experience the joy of etching at Tom’s Etching Studio.
Occupying the back end of one of the arches, Tom’s studio nestles up against a micro brewery and a knife makers. Outside, you need to walk through a working forge to get into the arch itself. This is not what you expect to see, just a short walk from the bustle of Peckham town centre.
Etching itself is essentially a form of print-making. Presented with a slab of vinyl, the intention is to create an image onto it by means of scraping onto its surface with a series of knives. Of course, the standard of the resultant image is entirely dependant on the skill of the etcher. The end result is then coloured in paint, placed onto a sheet of blank paper and wound through a couple of lead slabs in order to effectively transfer the image.
Invited to attend prior to the opening of the studio from our friends at Art Map London, Tom himself is a former graduate of Central St. Martins and found a calling within the art form that is etching and engraving. Within the arch, he created a press and then teamed up with Jenny Judova from Art Map to set up the studio offering workshops and bespoke engraving services.
Alongside ourselves, art writers from our friends at Notice What You Notice, The Art Newspaper and Doggerland we set about learning what it takes to become an etching master. Start with a design, transfer it onto vinyl, scrape it out, paint onto it and then slap it in between two huge chunks of lead and bingo.
Needless to say some works of glory were created from the minds of the assembled blogging types and indeed below is a step by step gallery from Inspiring City’s very own hand. A remarkably theraputic process it doesn’t take long to get involved in the process of etching and now it looks like there’s a place where anyone can go to find out for themselves
Tom’s Etching Studio opened to the public on Saturday 26 September 2015 and can be found at Arch 229, Blenheim Grove, Peckham, SE15 4QL. Inspiring City visited the studio on 14 September 2015.
Toms Etching Gallery