maiden voyage of the Nolan

Tacked to the wall above the press is a letter from my friend John in TX & a color sample chart with names like 'cupid's dart' & 'secret rendezvous'.....

Back in June I drove up to Ohio to visit the family with my brother Jason.  While there, I went a few extra miles to Pittsburgh where I bought my first printing press, a tabletop Nolan proof press.  I used one in a letterpress & wood engraving workshop in South Dakota about 5 years ago, and have been on the hunt at antique shops ever since.  No luck.  I stumbled across a site called briarpress, a printmaker's classified & discussion forum dream come true.  Periodically I peruse the site (mainly just window shopping for presses I can't afford) and it was by chance that I saw an ad for the exact press I'd been searching for, 45 minutes from my hometown.  It now proudly sits in my studio and tonight I printed a small linocut edition.  After receiving some advice from my friend Emily about printing surfaces (the roller is set at type high so the woodblock has to be a certain height) I picked up some mounted linoleum at the local Michael's on Tuesday afternoon.  I carved a little test block with some text & patterns.  Tomorrow, Steven begins his solo trip into the wild (he goes into the Boundary Waters with a canoe and backpack for ten days), so I thought it was fitting to set the scene in an abstract forest with some four leaf clovers for good luck.  The block was rolled up in black relief ink and printed on lightly dampened Kitakata paper, using 2 scraps of mat board as packing to lift the block to meet the roller.  I am ever so pleased with the consistency of the prints!  The ink release was smooth & solid, on the rice paper and even on a sheet of thicker Stonehenge paper.  The press is in perfect condition, with a 15" x 34" flat bed & dent-free roller.  After two years of printing by hand with a wooden spoon, it's so nice to use a press again.  The familiar scent of printing ink & paper filled the studio & the wet prints were taped on the closet door to dry for the night.  I'm going to experiment hand-coloring these prints later & try a reductive color print this weekend.


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