Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicago: WEN Workshop (4)

*Warning - this post features an extraordinary number of printing presses*

Now this looks an interesting place to start a day:

Paul Aken's wonderful Platen Press Museum in Zion, IL.

Walking into the first room, we were met by a group of iron handpresses, including this handsome Hopkinson & Cope Albion Press:

The unmistakeable Columbian press. We were given the opportunity to print on this during our visit:

A large Washington Press:

A sweet Hopkinson & Cope table top Albion. There were many of us who would have liked to adopt this and take it home:

Finally, a wonderful Reliance:

In another room, Earl had found a Columbian No. 2 Platen press, similar to his own.

Everywhere, there seemed to be a handpress.

Carl and Rachel were among those who pulled proofs from the Columbian.

In the meantime, I explores Paul's "Toyroom":

In the book room, a poster that caught my eye:

I have never in my life seen so many presses together in one place:

Elsewhere, there were various casting machines, including this wonderful linotype:

It was getting towards lunchtime and some more people were due to fly out so we drove to the Illinois Beach State Park for a picnic lunch:

After lunch, we went to the beach for a last look at Lake Michigan. I skimmed stones into the lake and then sat and made towers of pebbles, contemplating the directions that my printmaking might go as a result of my experiences during this week.

We drove back to Sharen and Don's.

The basement was growing quieter and more empty all the time. Sometimes, Kitsi had found it difficult to cope with so many visitors but now she could relax again - and enjoy Sharen's proofing press:

Saturday morning found me relaxing again at Kildeer.

Then it was time to leave for the airport (and a wonderful upgrade!) for the flight home.

I am so very grateful to the Wood Engraver's Network for their kind invitation, to Sharen and Don for their generous hospitality and for the friendship and companionship of my fellow engravers. I know that my work will change as a result of my experiences and I look forwards to a time later in the year when I can start to explore some of the ideas that I am forming. In some ways, I left for Chicago a jobbing engraver and arrived back in England an artist.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a treasure trove of presses! It was great to have been given the chance to use one, too. Thanks for showing us your trip!

Jean Womack said...

This is beautiful, Andy. I love those presses too. I have a proofing press that I don't know how to use. Are there directions somewhere for how to use a proofing press?

Terry Sargent Peart said...

Thank you for including us in your journey, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Annie B said...

Yikes, all I can think about when I see all those presses is how heavy they must be -- all that weight in Zion, IL, might just be tilting the planet a little bit to one side.

Your statement, "In some ways, I left for Chicago a jobbing engraver and arrived back in England an artist" is really moving. A change like that doesn't come easy and I'm so happy for you that your trip had that effect on you. Looking forward to seeing the change unfold.

David Harrison said...

Astonishing -- that's not just a museum, it's a shrine to presses. Thanks for sharing the journal. said...

You've been so generous to document your trip, and post the sequences here. It's like we've all traveled in your pocket. What a stunning repository of presses! What museum allows hands on experimenting with their collection? What a rare treat. And I agree with Annie B completely - your statement caught me, and I read it twice to absorb the enormity of that kind of transformation.
For the record, as someone who proudly hangs you work in my home & studio, I've always thought of you as an incredible artist.

Ellen Shipley said...

Great printing presses! Also kewl rocks. 8-]

Debra James Percival said...

What an amazing place!!! Thank you for sharing. Love old presses.

Jenny Kelly-Wlodarczyk said...

Wow. Awesome. Jealous. Columbian, mmmmmmm

Eric said...


In the "Toy Room" I noticed all of the little hand presses have tags hanging off of them. Were they for sale???