On a mission to make printmaking accessible to everyone.
Printmaking is a very old and beautiful art form you may know from university or your art classes at school. And while it has endless possibilities to be creative and countless options of techniques, media or styles, it‘s not accessible for a lot of people.
The main problem is to get access to a printing press, the most crucial piece of machinery in the process of printmaking. And because a regular press is very expensive, heavy and difficult to ship, it‘s not an option for a lot of artists.
That‘s why we challenged ourselves to come up with a solution specifically for intaglio, because with aquatints, drypoints, etc. you need a lot more pressure compared to a simple linocut or woodcut. The Open Press Project is the final outcome: a small but fully functional etching press, designed to be lightweight, inexpensive and portable.
The Open Press Project fits into the palm of your hand and – more importantly – into your backpack! Printmaking on site is now the thing!
It works with every intaglio technique including etching, engraving, drypoint, etc. and is also suitable for relief printing, meaning you can use it for linocut or woodcut and it works with monoprinting as well!
With a maximum of 145x75mm, the paper size is quite small in comparison to regular presses, but isn‘t it intriguing what you can come up with on that scale? Every print fits into an envelope and is perfect for small greeting cards, business cards or a wonderful Christmas present for the entire family (it is never too early to think about Christmas presents!).
For this Kickstarter we have come up with something special and upgraded the regular version of the press by replacing some pieces with metal parts. A steel roller ensures perfect and even pressure and a metal bolt drives the lower roller without wear.
The Open Press Project works just like a regular etching press. But now you can bring such a press into your home! With only a fraction of the costs of a normal press. Finally printmaking is possible for everyone!
We have tested various blankets and decided to use this high quality woven blanket. It is extremely durable and perfect to print very fine aquatints, mezzotints, drypoints, engravings and etchings!
Here are some prototypes in action:
A 3D-printer can manufacture a three-dimensional part based on a digital file by adding material in layers. We have designed the Open Press Project with 3D-printing in mind, because we know that a lot of people know someone with access to a 3D-printer or have one at school or university. Lots of local libraries have them, too.
However, a lot of people asked us if they could buy a press. So if you don't want to invest the time or you don't have a 3D-printer or the 3D-printing know how, this Kickstarter is for you!
Each Beginners Kit and Open Press Set will include 20 sheets (21x26cm big) of their high quality editioning washi papers! That's a lot of printmaking fun for our beginners kit-backers! Big thank you to Awagami Factory!
The Open Press Project started and will continue as an open source project, meaning that you can download the plans for an entirely 3D printed printing press on the Open Press Project Website. If you have access to a 3D printer and a bit of time, you can 3D-print your own etching press. Instructions on how to build one can be found on the website as well.
It all started in 2017, where we spent months of testing and prototyping to come up with the perfect design of an accessible printing press.
And after publishing it as part of a university exam, printmakers and makers all over the world started to print themselves their own press!
More than 10,000 people have downloaded the plans since then and every day we receive more photos of colourful presses and prints from Germany, UK, USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Indonesia and many more countries!
Get a small impression of how far the Open Press Project has travelled. People from all over the world print these in different colours and are creating tiny artworks with them! Head over to https://openpressproject.com/project/map to check out some of the presses.
And because we think that it's awesome to see what people can make with such a press, we decided to start an open call! The first exhibition started in Cologne with more than 250 tiny prints made by more than 100 artists all over the world. And it will continue to be shown in more galleries and countries in the upcoming months, as a travelling exhibition, so that more people can check out the endless capabilities of the Open Press.
In the past year more and more people reached out and were interested in buying a press rather than 3D-printing one themselves. These people were either not interested in investing the time and effort it takes to print a press or they had no access to a 3D-printer. We knew we were eventually going to sell them to make the Open Press Project available for these people as well, but it took a while to come up with a plan. It was important to us to keep the Open Source-aspect of the project, because think that the community is so positive and thriving because of it.
We eventually decided to use Kickstarter and crowdfunding, mainly because our manufacturing process changes depending on how many orders we'll get. Having a fixed number of backers at the end of the campaign will give us a good batch to manufacture rather than having the risk of spending a lot of money in advance.
Also, we hope this campaign will motivate more people to join the Open Press Project in general!
A big thank you to Shelley Thorstensen, Sven Buchert, Conny Stempel and Jasper for allowing us to show their artwork!
A press kit can be downloaded here: OPP Press Kit
Please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Risks and challenges
We want to be as transparent as possible with this and of course there are risks to a Kickstarter campaign & when it comes to manufacturing a product.
However, we thought a lot about possible manufacturing-solutions and made sure that we can change our plans according to the outcome of the campaign. That means that we are able to manufacture presses no matter if the campaign is barely funded or overfunded. And in general, we will do anything in our power to make this happen! Because we are so passionate about this little press, we have completely cleared our timetables and will not stop working on this until every backer has received their rewards! If anything comes up, you'll be the first to know.
Happy printing!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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