Every year on Christmas Eve, our family gathers for a grand crab feed. Living in Oregon, Dungeness crab is not hard to find. Typically my father creates a fabulous card to invite extended family members to the event. Wine flows freely along with copious amounts of crab, wonderful green salad and bread from the Metropol Bakery in Eugene.
In 2008, I created a block print for those family members who attended the festivity. There was a choice, color or no color. Those who requested no color were able to walk away with the image in hand that night. Those unlucky few who asked for color…. they had to endure a full year to receive the completed print. Fortunately I created enough extra to send to other family members in the 2009 holiday package.
So first step was to print the black portion using the carved block. The original block and paper were run through a press. Next, I used a screen to apply the color over the surface of the image (this process will show up in the next blog with a different project).
What type of press do I use? It can be known as an etching or intaglio press. This particular press is a Takach. Etching presses are designed to place even pressure over the surface of a plate, pressing the paper down into etched/scratched lines that hold the ink (depending on what print style you are doing). There is a crank handle that moves the press bed (covered in wool blankets) one direction or another. The black knob handles on top help control how high or low the roller rests against the sandwich of materials. Bottom layer of the sandwich is the press bed and moves up as follows: press bed, plate/block, print paper, cover paper, felt, 2 wool blankets and then the roller. The press bed surface is 24″x 48″.