(eta) QUIVER TREE I – An Original Dry Point Etching


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I took the photograph that provided the reference for this etching in the Northern CapeThe Quiver Tree or Kokerboom (Aloidendron dichotomum) is probably the most spectacular aloe species found in South Africa because of its sculptural form. Growing in the dry desert and semi-desert regions of the Northern Cape and southern Namibia, it is in fact not a tree at all but actually a giant succulent. The Quiver Tree gets its name from the San people’s practice of hollowing out the tubular branches to form quivers for their arrows. The thick succulent leaves of the Quiver Tree grow in a rosette up to 6 metres above the ground to escape the worst of the devastating desert heat; each at the end of a stumpy branch. The branches are thickly covered in a fine white powder which reflects the sun’s heat instead of absorbing it and so helps keep the plant cool. The branches and trunk are filled with a soft fibre that can hold a great quantity of water and from May to July, the trees are covered in bright yellow flowers. Medicinally, the roots have been used to treat asthma and tuberculosis.

To produce an etching, I first start by doing a drawing. Once this is complete, I scratch the image on to a thin sheet of plexiglass using an etching needle, this becomes the etching plate. I cover the plate with etching ink which settles into the scratched grooves. I carefully wipe away the excess ink, leaving a small amount to cover the surface of the plate. I lay a slightly damp piece of 300g Acid Free Fabriano paper on top of the etching plate and then run the paper and the plate through a hand operated printing press. The pressure of the press forces the ink out of the grooves and on to the damp paper. It is an uncertain process subject to many mistakes and I am never sure what the result will be until it emerges from the press. If I have left too much ink on the plate, the result is too dark, if I haven’t left enough ink then I lose the characteristic ‘smokey’ effect of an etching. The plate will last for approximately 25 prints before it becomes clogged or damaged and no longer useable.

Limited edition dry point etching on 350g Acid Free Fabriano Paper. This etching is delivered rolled into a tube, ready for framing. Free worldwide shipping.

Etching size: 340mm x 410mm

Additional information

Weight 0.2 kg
Dimensions 34 × 41 cm

Edward Bredenkamp


340mm x 410mm


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