This is my home made etching press. It was built in 1976 (approx.). A friend had an alfalfa farm out in the desert west of Maricopa, AZ. There was an abandoned potato farm (yes, potato farm), many years lost to the desert. He loaned me a cutting torch and I set about hacking up a huge quantity of scrap hoping that among all those pieces would be enough to build a press. When I got home I did not have access to a cutting torch or welding equipment. So all those pieces had to be put together with a hack saw and a drill. That is ALL I used once I got it home. I had to buy one gear for $50.00, and I had the top roller made at a machine shop out of aircraft alloy tube steel with brass bushings. That cost $150.00. The largest plate size I've printed is an 18X24, but that's pushing the limits. I tend to work much smaller in any case. It has served me well all these years. Literally HUNDREDS of prints, etchings, relief prints, embossings, were pulled off this press.
This is the last image in the first book of 5 books in my hand made book "5FIVE5" (I'm confused.) The first book is called "from none to ONE". It is a single sewn signature with wrapper. The images are from a lino block using a reduction cut, and the images are rebuilt using reverse assemblage.
I finally finished my hand made book, "5FIVE5". It is a set of 5 books in a book-like case, with a book mark. Many all nighters, and long, long days. I will add more photos of all the parts and the assembled whole soon. There was the craziness of putting up my show "face2face" at Amara Yoga, and the size of this edition; 100 copies for the "public", 25 artist proofs. It turned out so much better than I thought it would. Most importantly, it surprised me as it came together, changing every day. Some parts were only vague concepts that had to find their life right on the press as type was being set. Many of the parts were untested in how they would work, go together as a whole. I try to walk the artistic tight rope, a little dangerous and unknown. When I was younger I fell a lot, still do occasionally. Perhaps I know now which things need attention, which don't, but it's more fun, and just as scary. I think that's a good sign. I have put together 35 sets of the 125 sets so far. I can only do about 10 sets per week working all day, every day. That's less than 2 a day. I finally made 1 set for me. I sit and look at it over and over, amazed at how it came together, shocked even. I LOVE BOOKS. Even as a kid, they were my first big thrill. Loved reading them, just looking at them, holding them. Now to be able to design, print, and bind my own is quite simply miraculous. The pictures here are from the 5th book of 5, "Loteria Trading Cards". Each of the 5 books is a totally different binding, and concept. Yet they all go together under one over all arching "story", a continuation of last year's ZINE, "The New Adventures Of DOGBOY". What IS that "story" exactly, how does it go together, how does it "make sense"? I'm not sure either, but I KNOW it does. I could guess. After all, I made these books. The artist almost never really knows what they are doing or why. The more convinced they are about it, the less they know. Maybe not, but in my case, absolutely. Some many years from now I may get a glimmer of what it meant, or not. I hope not. How lovely if even I can experience it as a mystery. That would ALWAYS be my wish.