Etching is a destructive process. You take the metal plate and protect it. Then you scratch it, scuff it, make it vulnerable. You drop it in acid and the exposed parts get eaten away.
The plate is cleaned. Whatever protection it had is dissolved. Ink is rubbed into the grooves, the pits, and scars. The smooth parts don’t hold the ink. The surface is wiped. The rag hits the high points. The darkness remains in the crevasses.
A sheet of paper is put on it. You run the whole thing through a press, exerting all the weight of the world. When you lift the paper, you see the history of what you did to that metal.
Me? I do it again. I push it until it’s a convoluted mess of texture, and then I burnish it and bring it back from chaos. And all the marks that were there still leave a whisper of what was.
This is how it goes. That’s design. It’s everything. Taking out what you don’t need until only what you want remains.