Kitchen Litho was invented by the French artist Émilie Aizier in 2011 as an alternative to traditional lithography. All you need are a few common household items: aluminium foil, butter, soda and vegetable oil. Impressed by the simplicity of this process, we tested it with Fraser Muggeridge to see if the technique could be combined with the Office Offset machine.
The first step is to mount a piece of aluminium foil onto an old printing plate. We found out that it is important for the foil to sit snuggly, without any wrinkles, on the plate. Using a plastic spatula helps.
When testing a new technique it is always a good idea to start with a test plate. Anything that is greasy will work – different markers, butter or crayons. Use different materials to see which one works best.
Now it is time for ‘coking’. The soda is used to acidulate, to fix the drawing onto the aluminium foil. This method is easy and safe compared to the traditional but more complex mixture of nitric acid or phosphor.
With all of those spatulas already to hand, we decided to use them as templates. First we tried to grease them and use them as stamps. But then, by accident, we realised we did not even need anything greasy to imprint the aluminium foil.
Simply cutting templates from tissue paper is enough to hold the coke in place while ‘coking’ the aluminium foil.
Every spot on the aluminium foil that was hit by soda will become a non-printing area. This technique, then, leads to a negative form. There is still room for improvement. But hey, it looks great already.
In the end, we printed seven kitchen litho plates and learn quite a bit about this process – it works well with an Office Offset machine. More questions arose, which means further testing is required. So we will continue.