Zelda, my amazing tiny press, demo


[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_0PZbZdcLs[/embed]Her name is Zelda, and she is a 5-year-old tiny press – and I owe her a huge apology. For the past five years, she has been my steady, reliable and loyal printmaking friend. She is the press behind my first photopolymer relief shoe series, four color-flower prints, drypoint print exchange images and countless relief-based holiday cards. And yet, I have been so vain. I never admitted to printing on her (or if I did it was in a limited way). I thought if people saw Zelda, they would not be able to look past her pink plastic and bling exterior.Then this summer I went full steam ahead with my printmaking dream life. I bought an Ettan Etching Press. It is actually a little more high-maintenance than my Zelda, but that might be another blog post in the care and feeding of larger etching presses.Happy in my honeymoon phase with the Ettan, I saw a call for a Tiny Press roundup during the Southern Graphics Society International (SGCI) Conference. Side note: going to an SGCI conference has been on my bucket list. Imagine over a thousand printmakers in one place spending three days doing nothing but talking about, looking at and creating everything printmaking. Heaven.So I answered the call…and for a first time, I revealed the truth about Zelda. I described her as she is: a Sizzix Big Shot (die-cutting craft machine) with an L Letterpress bed. I also mentioned that she is somewhat pink with bling.Before this, my tiny press was unnamed. As I was filling out the application, suddenly my little press told me her name: Zelda. Of course. And to my astonishment, the good folks at SGCI accepted us.And so I branded Zelda with her own business cards and matched her with a new apron, rubber gloves and cap.Using my Holga digital camera (toy press, toy camera), I shot a series of images in my usual “please tell me I am in another century” aesthetic based on the conference theme of Terminus: Arrivals and Departures. Since Terminus (a railroad thing) was the beginning of Atlanta history, my Holga and I spent a few afternoons on the other side of the tracks in Pulaski County.I originally planned to do Photopolymer gravure for the roundup, but with the advice from Deborah Souser, the event coordinator and consummate printmaker, we decided this would be too time-consuming. So, I turned to Boxcar Press to make my Photopolymer relief plate as too much time had elapsed for me to do my own at that point.On March 16, Zelda and I printed 150 relief prints in six hours at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Ken also deserves a mention for being driver, cheerleader, table helper and soda provider.As I set up at table 21, I had to quell the stage fright – this was terrifying. Here I was, about to show my extreme silliness with a pink press in front of potentially 1000 vetted printmakers.So, I made a huge mess of thin green oil-based ink and my favorite Graphic Chemical process black ink and started running prints. When I looked up, there was a line of printmakers of all ages in front of the table that never really ended.And the response?“That is the cutest press I have ever seen,” said a large majority of fellow printmakers.And so I made prints for them and told the abbreviated story or Zelda. If I were an affiliate of Sizzix, I believe I could have a sold of ton of the Big Shots for the number of people who mentioned wanting one.For those interested in how Zelda works, I have included a handy dandy demonstration video. To see prints I have done with Zelda, please visit lskingphotography.com/zelda.