Artwork

Farewell bottle jack press

Proofing some linocut prints made with the 6-tonne bottle jack press

Proofing some linocut prints made with the 6-tonne bottle jack press

It’s a hard decision to make but I just don’t reckon this thing will qualify as carry-on luggage. My 6-tonne bottle jack press now needs a good home so I’m looking for a printmaker who is keen to be good to her. Today is our final Sunday at the Strandhill People’s Market in Strandhill, Sligo, and I’ll be bringing the press out and be assessing the submissions of potential suitors.

Top down approach - home-made 6-tonne bottle jack press

This machine was designed and handmade by Graham Reid and myself mid-2015 in his workshop which is nestled deep in the heart-melting beauty of the Sligo backcountry. While there are instructables online as to how to build one of these for yourself on the cheap, the results just didn’t come anywhere near close to looking this sexy. We tooled around for days cherry-picking various elements that would both look sexy and be highly functional. We had sketches and a vague plan but kept the specifics loose enough to benefit from a creative repurposing of workshop and skip scraps as much as possible. Some coin was thrown down for the bottle jack heart and stainless steel rods and bolts (essential for seaside studios).

Home-made 6-tonne bottle jack press

The press is simply a pleasure to work with. Previous to this all my linocuts were printed with the tried and true method of using the back of a wooden spoon. I’ve treasured that spoon and it sports a high polish as a result of the work it’s done. The functionality and sizeof it means that it won a place the lottery of odds and ends being shipped in our move back to Australia. My beautiful bottle jack press however will be re-homed and remain here in Ireland.

The big squeeze where it gets heavy – home-made 6-tonne bottle jack press

Linocut print – Cormorants triptych

Sure, we’ll send postcards to each other but how long can you maintain the magic for? Soon enough she’ll have the hands of her new owner caressing her polished surfaces, stroking her springs, giving in to the sensational nuances of an altered grip on the handle and, at the the final twist of her release valve at the point of maximum compression, maybe her breathless exhalation will be something… something different.

Farewell my beauty.

Proofing some linocut prints made with the 6-tonne bottle jack press