This is my old press. I don't use it much anymore. When I was in college studying printmaking it was this way or the photocopier.
This is my new press. Lately there has been a lot of discussion about what constitutes "hand made." So I thought I'd show some of the tools and techniques that I use to make things.
Most of my work starts with a painting. Here is one of my recent landscapes, my gouache, and some favorite tools. I also used my computer to view some pictures of Muir Beach and Muir Woods. The redwoods don't really come to the edge of the water, but now they do. The more I paint, the more I appreciate basic tools and techniques and simple paintings that aren't trying too hard.
It may seem like a contradiction that I like the old simple things and use a new inkjet printer, but it's all in the process. It used to be that the folks who used the press in the top picture were considered graphic designers and the "fine artists" were the painters. In fact my press came from a clothing store and was used to make signs that were thrown away as soon as the sale was over. Now, because of the invention of that printer in the middle picture, things seem to have flip flopped.
The process is basically the same for most creative pursuits: get an idea, make a big mess, then tidy things up because they never end up looking just like the original vision in your head. In painting, the messy part of figuring out colors, textures, layers, and the push and pull of space and focus comes before the duplicating process. In printmaking it happens right in the middle. But then, if I spit 100 prints out of my inkjet printer, they would be considered to be of a lesser value then the numbered edition of hand pulled prints. I'm ok with that.
The goal of my new line of paper products is to hand-make gifts with the look of fine art paintings for when the occasion calls for more than a card, but less than an original. And to add a high level of craftsmanship that people want to keep around long after the occasion.
I often mount my paintings of wood. Which means I draw a cutting outline in AI and laser-cut it. They come out covered with tape and smelling like a barbecue. All the sooty edges need to be cleaned.
Then I put on some reading glasses and hand-cut all the tiny painted shapes that I have printed. I make and stamp tags, string everything together, and tie lots and lots of knots before packaging it.
Sometimes I use a paper cutter instead of the tiny scissors. It makes a great noise.
Sometimes I use a mat knife to cut wood veneer or paperboard. Everything needs to be hand-glued.
And then they spend the night in another kind of press.
I designed the bases for the book boxes and had them made here in California out of recycled chip board. Then I cut and glue the covers myself.
I try to keep all the little bits organized in my vintage mail sorting station, but I won't pretend it looks this tidy all the time.
Can't wait to show you more. I hope you like to look at it as much as I like to make it.Continue reading