Etching Press at the Bow & Arrow

Bow & Arrow Press, Printmaking

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally received a wonderful gift at the Bow & Arrow Press:


It’s a Charles Brand etching press, donated by Betsyann Duval, a printmaker and artist in the north metro area and a fellow member at Bromfield Gallery. The Bow & Arrow Press is forever in her debt!

Bow & Arrow Spring Show plus Time-Lapse

Bow & Arrow Press, Shows

Our Press Scholar, Gina Trakadis, decided a showcase of all the letterpress done at the Bow & Arrow over the last couple of years would be a good idea. So we got together as many samples as we could, and put them up in the ArtSpace in the Adams House residence hall at Harvard, where the Bow & Arrow Press lives. This would be the first time  all of my letterpress tweets have been hung together in one setting. Here’s a photo:


And here’s a 60x time-lapse of the show and reception:

It was a good selection of prints and a great turnout tonight!

Exquiste Corpse Letterpress Piece at the Bow & Arrow

Bow & Arrow Press, Letterpress

We’re doing a Spring Show at the Bow and Arrow Press on Thursday, and in celebration we had people typeset anything they wanted, as long as it was 22 picas wide and about food. Here’s the resulting exquisite corpse, set up on a galley and ready for printing on the SP-20:


I printed it using PANTONE 194 dark red (something close to Harvard crimson), on some awesome paper stock. The head of the dining hall at Adams House comes into the Press to typeset, and she had a box of Fryolator filter paper that wasn’t the right size for the fry machines and had been kicking around for a few years. I cut it down to 12″ x 18″ and it worked wonderfully:


Finally, an Image of the Letterpress Swadesh Project

Letterpress, Linguistic Deconstruction

I posted about the conceptual print based on the Swadesh list used in linguistics studies some time back. Well, it’s been printed for a couple of weeks, I just never got around to photographing it. No longer! I might to another photoshoot just to see if I can get the embossing nailed down properly, but this particular shot contains two detail insets with the embossing more prominent. Click to embiggen.


Vertical Spectrum on the Letterpress, with String

Metashapes, Printmaking

Here’s a new Vertical Spectrum print, done on the Vandercook No. 4 at the Bow and Arrow Press today.


New Layered Spectrum I is a concept print, done in several passes using PANTONE Warm Gray 7, which is somewhat transparent so the depth of the color builds up over time. What’s new about this spectrum, is that I’m doing it with string.


I cut a 7″ x 4″ block out of 0.75″ wood, and put little strips of Masonite on the underside of the outside edges, so it would sit on the pressbed with a gap underneath. The Masonite also elevates the block to about 0.9″, which is very close to type height. I then wrap the wood block with string, using various layers to build up a multilevel surface that tends toward vertical but can vary to about 60 degrees. Since the string extends the surface above type height, but is compressable, it makes a very nice impression on the paper. Making multiple print passes with different wrappings builds up a layered composition on the print of lines of various orientations. What’s nice is that the fibers of the string actually make separate impressions, so each vertical line is also striped. Various tangles and knots also modulate the lines, so it’s not as geometric as could be.


I had the idea a couple weeks ago, and built a 7″ x 4″ block and a 8″ x 5″ block to play around with, but didn’t have time to actually wrap string and print until today. I plan to use more colors, use different sizes of string, and even use wires as a different vertical texture.

A Couple More Letterpress Block Prints

Metashapes, Printmaking

Here are a couple more letterpress pieces from the Bow and Arrow Press. These were done with the same block; one was printed in an ink mixed from graphite powder and Van Son Transparent White, the other was printed by using PANTONE Yellow and PANTONE 7459 and flipping the block after the color change.

Graphite-Spectrum Dual-Reverse-Spectrum

Upcoming Printmaking Show at the Nave Annex

Printmaking, Shows

This coming Thursday, February 21st, a printmaking show I organized with Carolyn Muskat as juror will open at the new Nave Annex, located in bustling Davis Square in Somerville, literally right next to Redbones BBQ. Any Boston folks will definitely want to go check it out. We’ll have a closing reception on Friday the 8th of March. Here’s the front of the postcard:


Participating artists are Nancy Brooks, Elizabeth Cameron, Lisa Conrad, 
Christiane Corcelle, Nancy Diessner
, Gary Duehr, Dominique Duroseau, Amy Kaufman, 
Jackie Miller, Elisabeth Nicula, Katie O’Brien, 
Damir Porobic, Anne Russell, Annie Silverman, 
Karl Stephan, Emily Trespas, William Turville
, Katherine Vetne, and James Weinberg.

Fun with Powdered Graphite

Printmaking, Scientific Exploration

I dug up my jar of powdered graphite recently, and figured, hey, we have transparent white at the Bow and Arrow for mixing purposes, maybe it would work as a pigment base? And it was so. Of course, once I mixed it up, I had to print something with the graphite ink, so I did a little piece celebrating carbon:

Four Natural Allotropes of the Element Carbon

I’ll do a numbered edition of 27 for this one, so if anyone’s interested in purchasing a piece, let me know. I also did some one-offs, just messing around with the type on the press, and this one was amusing:


I call it Flipped Allotropes.

New Letterpress Project: An Arrangement of the 208 Swadesh Terms Distributed in Conceptual Order

Letterpress, Linguistic Deconstruction

I sent off for the plates today, so here’s a preview of a new letterpress edition I will be producing at the Bow and Arrow Press in the next couple of weeks:

Swadesh Letterpress Layout-01

This will be printed on 20″ x 13″ Lettra 220# fluorescent white paper. The light gray words will not be printed, they will be embossed on the paper. There will be 27 members in the edition. Price has not yet been set. Email if interested!

More images to come.