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Open Print Exchange

A few years ago, I started taking printmaking classes with a local artist at our community art center to give me something to do and dig back into a creative groove.  Printmaking was something I’d always wanted to try and this class gave us a great overview of the basics of a few different printmaking methods.  I later took more classes with the same teacher and really found a love for all the possibilities in printmaking.  There’s also something neat about the history of the craft.  Anyway, making prints without a press can be a bit limiting since some of the methods involve consistent pressure that can’t really be achieved by hand, so when I saw the Open Press Project on Kickstarter, I jumped on it.  My little blue press arrived and I went to town playing with drypoint etching on plastic plates.  It’s a very small format since the bed is only about 3×5.5 inches in size, but that also makes it portable and takes up less space which isn’t a bad thing.

At the end of 2021, the team that created the little press put out a call for artists to join a global art swap using the press to create a small series of 10 prints.  For mine, I used a subject that’s gone around a few times in various printmaking iterations from a screen print to a stencil, solar print, and probably eventually a linocut.  It’s my grandpa’s old Polaroid SX-70, and my love of photography bleeding into my newfound love of printmaking is something that should shock absolutely no one!

Here’s my whole series of ten – one will stay with the Open Press Project folks and be part of a catalog and future show, and in return, I’ll receive 9 different prints from artists around the world.  Can’t wait to see the catalog and online archive with all the prints as well, and I’ll add a new post once I’ve received my 9 prints in the mail, hopefully this summer.

Print Details:
Backer #53
Drypoint Etching on plastic plate
Speedball Akua Ink in Mars Black
Printed on Legion Stonehenge paper in Steel Grey

Reese’s Johnny Bar

Trying to get back into regular blogging this year, so here’s another item from Grandma’s scrap book.  It’s a Reese’s Johnny Bar wrapper from probably about 1941 based on the other items on the same page (dated postcards in particular).  I couldn’t find a whole lot on the internet about this, nor could I find another photo of the wrapper anywhere.  There’s a Wikipedia article about H.B. Reese who created the bars and named this one after his son – a companion bar to the Lizzie Bar, named after his daughter.  The difference between the two bars was that the Johnny bar contained nuts (you have to laugh, it’s just too funny).  The bar was made at the H.B. Reese candy co in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and was probably one of the last few Johnny bars made before being discontinued in 1942 due to wartime rationing in favor of producing only their best seller, the peanut butter cup.

The full ingredient list:
Fresh Cocoanut [sic], corn syrup, cane sugar, creamery butter, molasses, freshly roasted peanuts, milk chocolate, salt.

Why grandma saved this may remain a mystery.  It’s on a page that also includes a ticket stub for an airplane flight she took with her then boyfriend (later husband), a bingo ticket, postcards, and a few newspaper articles.  I suppose the most likely reason she saved this is that grandpa bought it for her or they shared it on a date or something like that.  Whatever the reason, it was a neat piece to find in the scrapbook, even if I’ll never know why she held on to it!

Sock Knitting Catch-up – Part 2

Another round of sock posts!  Probably at least 2 more to go after this until I’m done.  Still working through this long backlog of plain vanilla socks, but I wear handknit socks constantly, and especially with boots, the unpatterend ones are more comfortable.

Galapagos Socks
Started: 22 Aug 2020
Finished: 6 Sep 2020
Yarn: Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in colorway “Galapagos”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: If I remember correctly, the yarn was a gift?  We had been to the Galapagos Islands years ago and it was a once in a lifetime kind of trip.  So yeah, obviously a colorway named Galapagos was a thing that had to happen.

Blue Stripe Socks
Started: 8 Sep 2020
Finished: 13 Sep 2020
Yarn: Austermann Hand Painted in colorway “Esiblume”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: This one pooled up really weirdly for me!  My standard sock is 64 stitches and I think maybe at 72 stitches, I would’ve gotten the stripe pattern shown in product photos.  I *think* I bought this one on a trip to the Netherlands, but can’t be entirely sure since it was after I’d started to abandon Ravelry.  It’s not a particularly soft yarn, but it’s one of those solid, workhorse sock yarns that probably won’t need darning for years and years.

Harvest Socks
Started: 14 Sep 2020
Finished: 25 Sep 2020
Yarn: Farmhouse Yarns Fannie’s Fingering Weight in colorway, “Harvest”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: Another yarn from 2010, these buttery hues worked up really pretty into an evenly variegated yarn without really any pooling.  This is outside of my blue and brown comfort range but I can’t help but admire how beautifully the colors work together in the final knitted product.

Caribeno Socks
Started: 23 Nov 2020
Finished: 30 Nov 2020
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock in colorway, “Caribeno”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: Annnd back to blue!  The yarn was a gift from a friend who knows exactly what colors I like and oh, what gorgeous blues.  Malabrigo is so dang squishy and soft too, these are just fantastic.

The Fighting XX Corps

It’s not exactly the right season right now, but this was a little unique piece of history I only found one other place online, so it seemed like a good idea to post it!  The image is a piece of World War II history, issuing Season’s Greetings from the Fighting XX Corps.  Now, I’m not a military historian at all, but Wikipedia has an article for that!  On the back, my grandpa John noted,

This is a card my brother Stanley sent me, a Christmas card from the outfit he is in, some card isn’t it?

I know Stanley served in the military, but I couldn’t verify via available records which exact division or corps he served in while overseas.  The shield on the soldier’s back matches the insignia on the Wikipedia page, and the date on the card shows 1944 which all lines up with the details in the Wiki article.  There’s also another history page about the XX corps here (link to page) that contains what I assume are personal photos from a soldier in the corps.  Again, I’m not a military history buff, so I’m more just posting this to be digitally preserved or in case someone interested in military history finds it interesting.  Grandpa definitely sent this to grandma who preserved it in her scrapbook as part of a wide variety of postcards and tidbits he sent her while he was away with the Army Air Force.