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

Polaroids

We took a trip out to my grandparents’ place this weekend (Grandma passed away in January and Grandpa had passed away 1.5 years prior) and came home with yet another trunk full of photos.  My family was apparently a bunch of shutterbugs, and that love of cameras and photography was definitely passed down to me as well.  This batch is mostly from 1945 and upwards, taken mostly by grandpa.  I decided to scan all of them into the computer so that, should anyone want a photo, I can pull up the digital file (if the original was distributed to someone else) and forward that along.

Grandpa and (Step)Grandma never had children together, but they did have lots and lots of furbabies – cats and dogs.  I started the scanning effort with the huge batch of polaroid photographs (ranging from 1967 to 1996).  Most of these photos are of their cats and dogs, a few of eachother, two vacations, home improvement progress, and a couple of various family members.  There are some adorable consistencies – an annual photo of my grandfather with a cake grandma made for him on his birthday, the yearly Christmas tree, etc.  I sat here, scanning through the photos, thinking, “Well now, why did they take photos of this stuff?”  Then I realized what sort of photos are on my cell phone, and put that thought to rest.  Husband and I have no children (with no plans for any), so while we might have more vacation photos, the distribution beyond that is about the same.  Dog, dogs, new patio, dogs, dogs, painting the living room, dogs, dogs, flowers in the garden, and so on.

Something else to think about too, is that we have all these wonderful photos from my grandparents to look back on, and 50 years from now, what will we be looking at?  I can’t say I’ve actually printed a photo of mine (outside of photography jobs) in years.  Will the digital files survive like these polaroids have?  Will we be picking through SD cards and hard drives and flickr streams to see photos of family members or will they be lost to hard drive crashes?  It makes me wonder if I should be printing up more, assembling small printed albums of yearly highlights, or doing something creative like creating throw pillows from custom SpoonFlower fabric of our travels.  Lots of things to think about!  Here are a couple of my favorites from the batch of polaroids.

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