Hell Roarin' Print Shop

Hell Roarin' Print Shop
1897 Chandler & Price at the Museum's Print Shop

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

She prints again!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the C&P is returned to her former glory. With the help of my friend and talented artist BT Livermore (http://btlivermore.com/) we cranked out 4 seperate editions over 3 and 1/2 days!

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

"Blue Skies & Cow Pies"
The type with some great Copper ink on it

BT choosing some wood type
Brand spankin' new ink alongside some of the oldies
"Let er Buck!"
Spring green on the press, the rollers from Ramco are some serious Cadillacs (aka, so smooth!)
"Cigarettes, Scooters, Salads, & SAX"
Day-glo orange is actually seen here glowing in the dark
BT is printing the last color on the "Cigarettes, Scooters, Salads, & SAX" print

Be sure to pick up a copy of BAM's June issue to read more about the collaboration & about the print shop. https://www.facebook.com/butteartsmonthly/

I'm having a lot of fun in the Hell Roarin' Print Shop, and there will be a lot more prints to be made in there this summer.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Spring is here and so are the new Rollers!

Butte Brewing Co. original can from the Museum

CHEERS!! The new rollers for the 8"x12" Chandler & Price printing press have arrived, and let me tell you what, they are a thing of beauty. We had Ramco Roller in San Dimas, CA recover them for us, as well as put new tires on our trucks, and they look awesome!


After (I love this shag carpet!)

I spent 3 days last week cleaning the Hell Roarin' Print shop. I oiled the C&P from head to toe,  cleaned, redistributed type, unburied a granite inking slab from miscellaneous supplies, and organized the reglets and furniture. Sometimes I think my personality type was designed for finding the places where things are supposed to go, to find their families.

This is something I love about letterpress, that everything should have a place. Some of my most relaxing and fulfilling days have been spent sorting type. I once totally lost my cool at MSU in Bozeman and alphabetized and sorted 17 cases of wood type (probably over 30 fonts). It felt so good!

People have been asking me what I'm doing after this residency, and I just keep hoping that I will get to sort type to make the fonts whole again. Someone give me a Hell Bucket of type and I'll sort every last little bit.

Can I get paid to do that?


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Letterpress reaches far and wide!

Letterpress is alive and well across the world.

Take a look at Typoretum's amazing print shop in this video: https://vimeo.com/63348604. They are located in rural Coggeshall of Essex.

In Belgium there is a wealth of printing museums and collections that one can tour around (maybe even pull a print?): http://typeand.press/museums/

And specifically in Antwerp there is Kastaar Press, which opened recently. They have been saving letterpress equipment from salvage yards! Here is a little write up about them: https://www.we-heart.com/2016/04/20/kastaar-press-antwerp-interview/

I really am head over heels about all this stuff, it's becoming a bit of an obsession.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Discovering amazing things at the print shop all the time, look at these beauties!

Metal type/ornaments from the hell roarin' gulch print shop

"The Hand That Keeps the World Informed" from a linotype specimen book in the print shop


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lights & inside the Orphan Girl Mine

The lights in the Hell Roarin' Gulch Print Shop are really aesthetically pleasing, so I thought I'd show them some love on this blog.

I got to go on the Underground Tour at the Museum the other day. It was mind blowing! Looking at so many halftone photos of miners from the collection in the print shop makes me feel like I understand the background of Butte a little more than I used to. But going underground added a level of appreciation to all those men whose faces I have been staring at and printing.

These cages carried down people and others the ore

Being underground is unnerving and so foreign for me. I peered down the shaft that the miners would be raised and lowered into and got swept by an overwhelming feeling of how brave they all were. I think I better understand the saying that the people of Butte are "Butte Tough", because you really had to be as a miner. You put your life in danger everyday. So many miners lost their lives in those mines.

Ceiling is covered in wire mesh because rocks still crumble from time to time. And yeah, I was happy to be wearing a hard hat!
The 'Honey Pot" AKA, a toilet mine car.

Mushroom growing out of the wooden frame

Some other type of fungus, I know it looks like frost but it wasn't

There is also some really amazing signage in the tunnels. A lot of them remind miners not to smoke. Fire was definitely a huge concern, just read about the Granite Mountain Mine Disaster of 1917.

Manicules are essential for grabbing my attention

That bell still works! And it's loud as hell.


Monday, April 11, 2016

World Museum of Mining Poster

I offered to the Director of the museum to lock-up some type for the purpose of a commercial that was being filmed on April 7th to promote the World Museum of Mining. I don't know if this will make the final 30 second cut of the advertisement, but nonetheless I had fun designing this.

"The World Museum of Mining: where history tells a story"
Iconic headframe 
Some of the great metal type ornaments from the print shop

Locked-up in a 8"x12" C&P chase

In fact I will definitely be printing an edition of these that you will be able to purchase at the gift shop later this spring/summer.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Teaching people to print + I bought some really beat up wood type

So at the IBRC we have been doing an open studio night on Wednesdays from 7-9pm called "Wayzgoose Wednesday".

A Wayzgoose as defined by Edmund C. Arnold's book Ink On Paper 2 is a: "sentimental gathering of printers or other graphic arts people."

This is a time where members of the community can come work on independent projects alongside other printmakers (like myself). I've done a few crash courses in letterpress and Buttecians seem to be totally loving it, I am too!

Here are Rob and Colin working on the line-o-scribe
Here is their version of the poster, really excellent color choices

And this is the version that I printed later, with a loud rainbow roll

I recently scoured eBay and bought this really beat up wood type. You can see that most of the type is caked in dried ink and that the counters of the type are horrific. I'm hoping with some serious TLC and probably some stinky chemicals that I can salvage these letters. PRESERVATION THROUGH PRODUCTION. That's the motto here at the Hell Roarin' Residency.

I'll post before and after pictures once I've tackled this project.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Vintage halftone portrait plates

I feel like I'm cheating a little bit by proofing these letterpress plates from the WMM on an etching press instead of a letterpress, but c'est la vie. They aren't printing as perfectly as I would like them to, but I think I have to chalk this up to the fact that the plates are quite old and sometimes warped or the halftone is damaged in areas.

Overall they are quite difficult to ink, especially on the medium gray halftones, because I cannot tell if I have inked the whole plate, low spots and all. It is also very easy to over ink a halftone plate and accidentally fill in the dots, so I can't just mash the brayer onto the surface. I actually can't really think of a time where a printmaker would ever want to mash their brayer/roller onto their printing matrix...

I found it really exciting to see the plates on the press like this, so I wanted to share them with you all.

This portrait is currently my favorite of all of them, I enjoy the how ghostly the image is and how she fades into the background. 

Some of these plates have names written on the back in gorgeous script writing that I can barely read. I'm hoping to enlist some help of the generations before me who are accustomed to reading very loopy handwriting so we can decipher who some of these women are!


Monday, March 7, 2016

"Watershed" portfolio exchange

  1. 1.
    an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas.
    "the Mackenzie River watershed"
  2. 2.
    an event or period marking a turning point in a course of action or state of affairs.
    "these works mark a watershed in the history of music"
    synonyms:turning point, milestone, landmark
    "a watershed in the party's history"

First, what is a portfolio exchange? An exchange is usually organized by an individual or group (i.e. SGCI or MAPC conferences). The artist has to address the theme of the portfolio, such as: dreamland, flux, sphere, watershed, communities west, navigating currents, etc... the theme can be about whatever the organizer wants the artists to think about and make artwork about. Each artist will be invited into the exchange and be expected to make a certain edition of prints. In the case of "Watershed" the forty participating printmakers were required to make 42 prints and will then receive 40 different prints back (well I guess 39 since I do receive one of my own back). The other two prints or sets of prints will be housed permanently in the Boise State University's special collections and exhibited at the Katherine Albertson Library at Boise State University in April 2016.

Exchange portfolios are a great way to build your exhibition resume and grow your art collection. Plus you get to see what other contemporary printmakers are doing and create relationships with them.

The requirements for Watershed were this:
  •  -Hand process printmaking media only (intaglio, relief, monotype, lithography, collagraph and/or photographic variations of these processes are welcome). Please no ink jet prints or photography.
  •  Paper size: 11” x 14” (horizontal or vertical orientation)
  •  Edition Size: 42
  •  Interleaving: Glassine wrapped around each print (like a taco shell)

Here is my print for it, all made on the line-o-scribe at the IBRC. All the image pieces are from the WMM.

Final print "Superfund"

Metallic copper ink is my jam right now

Old image of the Berkeley Pit


First sketch and design

Second design, the final result was pretty close to this

Hand stenciled the copper wave on the type for each print!

My artist statement for "Superfund"

The Berkeley Pit is a former open pit copper mine which operated from 1955 until its closure on Earth Day in 1982. It is over a mile wide and is filled with water that is heavily acidic and laden with heavy metals and chemicals that threaten to pollute the surrounding groundwater. It is rare that the pit is ever out of eyesight when in Butte because it is so massive. I have been living next to this toxic body of water for years, albeit not as close to it as I am now. My outsiderness to Butte has not let me glance over this looming disaster; it threatens all westerners through an actual trickle down effect. In seven years, the threat of contamination could become a major turning point for communities in the surrounding area. My print functions as an in-your-face reminder that The Berkeley Pit is a problem that needs to be solved sooner rather than later.