Aug 5, 2009

My new etching press

Last month I found a posting on Baren Forum from a man who needed to sell his etching press as soon as possible.
I thought about it for an hour or so; it was crazy that for the past 3 nights I had been waking up in the middle of the night thinking that I needed to start saving money to buy a bigger press; and on the third day I stumbled into this! So I called the number and inquire the price, location, etc.
There was no way I could come up with the money in 5 days. That was Thursday, on Sunday we had a house meeting and I just mentioned the whole situation to my housemates; the next day I had the money and was making the call to give Joel an offer (I have the best housemates).

Wednesday: Carlos and I took the train to Chicago, I've never heard of railroad construction season before, we got there two hours late. We had lunch and visited the Mexican museum of art where we were going to meet Carlos' cousin who was taking us to Downers Grove where the press was.

We finally made it to Downers Grove at 5PM, I met Joel and the press, and realized that it was going to be really hard to move that press, let alone transport it to GR. The truck we were planing on using could only carry half of the weight, that changed half of the plans.
We took off the motor hoping that it would reduce the weight, and reserved a big U-haul truck, that's all we could do that day.

Thursday: we picked up the U-haul and headed to the tool rental place in DG, they suggested a motor lift and a chain would do it.
Well it only helped to move the press 6 ft out of the garage with the help of a jack and many dangerous slips of the chain. There was no way in the world we were going to lift a 1400 lb press 4 ft from the ground and then push it into the truck. We considered all the options: take it all apart, hiring 8 strong men, take off the legs, etc. By then the idea of having a press in my studio in Grand Rapids Michigan suddenly seemed more and more unattainable.
An other day went by, and the press was still sitting 6 feet from the garage, and 4 from the truck. It was late, we covered the press and decided to come back the next day, but first we went to the local brewery! Joel and I had a really nice conversation, got to know each other and we both realize that the press was coming from a good home and going to a new good home as well. I was happy to met another nice printmaker (I haven't met a not nice printmaker yet).

Friday (that was the deadline to get the press out of the premises) We came back to the rental place and got a forklift! The press was in the truck in less than 10 min. We cleaned up, say good bye and came back to Grand Rapids. It took us about 5 hours to drive back, we were afraid that a sudden stop would make the press fly into the air and crush us or somebody else to death. So back in GR, we made a stop at the house and showed the press to everyone, (technically it was their press too) And decided to unload the truck the next day.

Saturday: We are lucky to have a studio where there is all the equipment and helpful people you'd ever need to unload a press, bring it up to a 3rd floor and set it up on your favorite spot.

I forgot to mention that the press was all covered in grease, which took me about 3 hours to get rid of, but that was nothing compared to what we just had been through, so I did it happily and didn't even seem that hard to me.

Now, I have an etching press, and I already pulled my first print!

It's strange, 10 years ago when I came to Grand Rapids I was looking for a printmaking shop where I could use a press. It takes a lot of time and effort to find one!


Anonymous said...

I really hope you post some pictures of what you make on the new press :) I'm so excited for you!


Terry Peart said...

Congratulations on your new press. It looks like a beauty. Indeed, you are very fortunate to have such great housemates and looks like a wonderful studio with great mates to help out. Printmakers are indeed a wonderful group of people.
PS- you need to name your press.

ainesse said...


Congratulations great to hear of your new acquisition !!!

But what a huge effort and how heartwarming to hear you have such caring friends.