Halfwood (Printing Press) by Bill Ritchie
2012 - 2013, Silver A' Unexpected Design Award Winner
A 17th Century all wood printing press at Rembrandt’s Museum and fine musical instruments inspired my Halfwood press design. Musical artists have beautiful instruments, why not visual artists? Beautiful and functional hand printing presses are wood clad over steel with etched brass appointments added. With a USB flash memory drive secreted in the wood I give my subject matter expertise and printmaking teaching method in the press for other artists, designers, crafts people and youth worldwide.
Visually, structurally and intelligently designed, the Halfwood printing press blends wood, steel and information. Form resembles old world style and craft with hand finishes and contrasting metal details. Structurally the press works for intaglio, relief, planar, and stencil printing yields rewards to beginners and professionals alike. Bedding a USB flash memory drive in the woodwork enables the user to connect to an expert’s Web for displays and linkage to online help desk via the Internet.
Design Challenges
The hardest part was achieving a balanced approach to building the presses so they could be owned and used without an exorbitant use of resources. Financial limitations had to be met, plus the usual business factors that one who is an academic and creative artist must learn in the course of developing a new product, testing, marketing and selling the press and supporting instructional materials, help desk and archives.
Production Technology
Press mechanics date back centuries; combining aesthetics and reduced size produced a beautiful, portable press, a balanced design. Cutting and welding plate steel, turning rollers, fitted bearings, gearing and chain drives clad in fine woods cut, rounded, oiled and rubbed by hand, plus brass appointments etched, shaped and inset into the wood result in a beautiful, functional artist’s instrument. Finally, a USB flash drive puts adds a Subject Matter Expert instructional data PressGhost.
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