Okay, maybe it’s just what I have been looking for, but I suspect that there are many of you that, like me, have wanted to get into printmaking but didn’t have the space or funds to drop on a decent press without giving it a try before you do. I’ve been talking about getting a press to try some copper plate etching and dry point printing. My wife kept telling me just to do it, but I have been paralyzed by a combination of deadlines, uncertainty, and a lack of knowledge. And then, I found this beautiful little press!
It is a fantastic little creation courtesy of the Open Press Project. The goal of the project is to bring printing capabilities to as many people as possible. The press is mostly 3D printed and they even shared their plans so that you can print your own if you have the tools. I bought mine from them and I like the fact that the purchased version has a steel roller. Right now they are €78.62, unless you want to add a small tip. Incidentally, the dollar and euro reached parity, so it’s a great time to buy as the dollar is going far in Europe. That means your price for the press is, $78.62. Add in the cost to get some supplies and you can be printing for around $100. They even have an ebook that you can purchase for a small donation that tells you how to use juice box containers to make a print. So fun! I’m telling you, if you’re interested in printing and don’t have a press already, this looks like a wonderful way to dip a toe into that water.
If you want to see some of the stuff that is being done with the press, you can check out their Instagram!
Here is a cool video of a print happening
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Here is what the Open Press Project website has to say:
Hi! Thanks for being interested in our little press! We are Martin Schneider and Dominik Schmitz, two designers from Cologne, Germany.
“About three years ago we noticed that intaglio printmaking is only accessible to a small group of artists, most of which don’t have the option to get themselves one of the very expensive and heavy printing presses or work in one of the very few printmaking workshops in art universities or private institutions. And because we love these very old and beautiful art techniques so much, we wanted to give more people the option to use them for their art in places where printmaking wasn’t possible before. We figured that the main challenge is to get access to an etching press, that’s the tool you need in order to print etchings, engravings, drypoints & co.”
“Our solution is the Open Press Project, a tiny 3D-printed etching press that will let you use these techniques outdoors, in your living room, or small studio! In 2018 we published free plans for this press online – and were overwhelmed by the support we received from the community, almost 60k people downloaded the files in the past three years! Artists from all over the world started to 3D-print themselves with their own small printing press in all sorts of colors and with their own modifications! Universities started to use them in their art classes, and more than 100 international artists submitted prints to the Open Press Collection in 2019, an open call that showed the vast possibilities of printmaking on tiny pieces of paper.”
I don’t think I can express how excited I am about this. I would post some work that I have done with it, but I just received all my supplies today, so count on another post soon to give you a progress update. I have materials for etching and engraving on copper as well as tools to do lino and woodcuts. There is something wonderfully visceral about printmaking. You can see where the press embossed the paper. Each one is an original of sorts as it depends on how you ink the plate, how you wet and blot the paper or whatever surface you print on, and how you run it through the press as well as a dozen other factors. But you still get to produce a series of an image. Even very simple prints have a gravity to them that always draws me in.
I was just in Amsterdam and had the chance to go through the Rembrandt House Museum and see the engravings and etchings there. It stirred that bug in me once again and so I was off to find something to resolve it, or feed it! I am thrilled to find this beautiful little press and can’t wait to start creating! Wish me luck and let me know if you get your own little press.