Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The effort before the reward

Sands Lake at sunrise, Salida

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I may not like getting up early in the morning, but I do like being up. A few days ago a friend dragged me out for a walk at dawn, and while I might have grumbled about it I definitely appreciated the chance to experience a morning like the one pictured above.

And now I appreciate it even more, because it gives me a nice metaphor for the current state of life in general: I'm not particularly enjoying the lead-up, but I know I'm going to love the result. Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please... I have an announcement to make!

I'm getting a Big Girl Press! 

I realize this isn't the first time you've watched me get all twitchy about a press. Back in 2011 I brought Elvis (Press-ley), a Richeson baby press, into the studio. Elvis has his moments, but he's no precision machine and he's limited to prints smaller than 9 x 12 inches.

Then there was Presszilla, a lovely chunk of 1940s-vintage proof press. Unfortunately, for all her handsome steel bulk, Presszilla won't do much larger than 9 x 12, either, and she needs some TLC. Sorry to say she's still living in storage... but one of these days....

So I've continued to hand rub 99% of my prints, and found that my physical limits top out around 12 x 18 inches. In fact these days my physical limits are even more limited: I've developed some rather alarming problems with my wrists and it's been clear for some time that I need to do something different. Plus DANGIT, I want to work larger.

I've been half-seriously shopping around for an etching press... doing the Google thing every once in a while to see what turns up... but nothing has come of it. And really... where would I put it? I've been back to working in my "spare" bedroom and things are tight as it is....blah blah blah.

So went the mental conversation, until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled quite by accident upon a great deal on a great press. In Nevada. There was a lot of hemming and hawing, mostly about minor details like money and space, but finally with the counsel and support of some really good friends I went ahead and said YES!

Of course that was the easy part. Now I have to rearrange my small apartment to accommodate a 30" x 60" (!!!!) etching press, get myself and a friend to Nevada, rent a truck, and haul the thing home.

The rearranging part started yesterday. This is the mess that used to be my living room but will now be the studio. I'm losing a sofa, but gaining a press. I had considered using this space as the studio when I moved in here just six months ago, but I couldn't figure out how to make it all fit (and the sofa wouldn't get through any door other than the front one).

 Once it was clear that the sofa would have to go, moving my "sitting room" and office to the bedroom was a little easier. It looks huge here in this iPhone-generated panorama photo, but the room is just under 10 x 12 feet. You can not imagine the headscratching that went on trying to fit all these darn bookcases in here. I'd like to find some other cushy reading chair for this room (now that I will be sofa-less), but for the most part it's feeling like it will be a nice, cozy space.

 Needless to say, there's not much printing in the forecast for this week or next. The Big Road Trip will begin next Monday, and in the meantime I need to find a home for the sofa and get the studio space prepped for the arrival of.... PRESSTON!

(PS: I almost forgot! I managed to save ALL of the sunset linos! Whew! Dodged that disaster, I did.)


  1. Great news Sherrie!!! Getting a "big girl press" is so worth finding room for it. I too stumbled upon my press (which was being offered for a deal too good to pass up)and I clearly remember the giddy feeling of anticipation & excitement. I wish you and Presston decades of happy printing. Melody

  2. ooh! big press :D

    and yay for saving all of those prints :D

  3. Thanks, Ladies! I'm really excited... when I'm not completely stressed out about it. Would be easier if it were just going to arrive at my doorstep, but the logistics of this trip are making me a little nuts!

  4. So thrilled you are taking the leap woman! XO to you and The Big Stuff to come!

  5. Good luck with your new press. And from experience, be very good to your wrists.