BIG WHEEL PRESS • Monoprints by Lisa Hersey & Broadsides by Chris Campbell
Pearl #14, the first press at Big Wheel Press
Exhibit: November 3 - December 31 Reception: November 11, 4-6pm Music: Blue Moon Trio, songs from the Great American Songbook Big Wheel Press is a master of time travel: retro images blend with fresh, sassy and very current text. Now print the piece with a vintage letterpress on good paper and you have the signature artwork of Big Wheel. But that is not all we see. There are local artists exercising their own brand of creativity on these presses. Just what is Big Wheel Press?
Located in Easthampton, MA, Big Wheel Press is the brain child of Bill Muller who founded the studio in 2006. The studio prints and/or distributes the artwork of a number of local artists in addition to the works designed by Bill himself. These artworks include traditional letterpress projects: broadsides, notecards, invitations, bindery and other special projects.
Bill was introduced to the world of hand printing by his father in 1964. After seeing The Ideal Toy Company's home printing press, called The Big Press, in Popular Mechanics, he bought one as a gift for Bill. Art, design and handmade crafts have been a part of Bill's life ever since. For 30 + years he has owned Guild Art Supply, a fine art supply store in Northampton, MA. If it weren't for this endeavor, he may not have ever found himself in his own print studio! It was during a visit to his friend (and old employee), artist Ali Osborn's studio that Bill became driven and determined to start up his very own letterpress studio. Ali, a printmaker, had been hand printing an edition of prints while Bill stood, watching in amazement, as one print was inked, aligned, spoon rubbed and set out in a line to dry. A conversation on letterpress printing started and from there equipment was researched and shortly after, acquired. Ali Osborn’s prints were exhibited at Salmon Falls Gallery before he moved to Brooklyn a few years back and before works by Big Wheel Press became available through the gallery. The first press at Big Wheel was a Pearl #14. The Pearl has a large cast iron flywheel. This distinctive characteristic of the press was, in part, where the press name Big Wheel came from (the other being a throwback to his very first Big Press from 1964).
“So I’m Ready to Attack, Gonna Lead the Pack” letterpress monoprint, wood type by Lisa Hersey of Holyoke, MA
Lisa Hersey began her studies at Montserrat College of Art, in Beverly, MA. She spent all of her time in the print basement working with lead and wood type, creating broadsides and books. After graduation she continued her bookbinding studies by helping out in a fine art studio. Lisa is in charge of any gluing and folding that happens at Big Wheel Press. She works closely with clients to create projects with an attention to printmaking techniques and material choices. She specializes in fine art bindings as well as custom wedding guest books, and collegiate bindings. The artwork Lisa is including in the exhibit at Salmon Falls Gallery explores letterpress printing techniques with a painterly approach. Rather than using the antique wood type to create words, she uses each letter as a sort of brushstroke to create monoprints. First setting a color palette, she then lets the transparent inks mix as the project progresses. The letters create new shapes as they are set on the press, building depth on the page.
"Letterpress Broadside" by Chris Campbell
Chris Campbell got his start in the letterpress studio as a repair man. He was obsessed with the inner mechanics of all the machines. After he'd solve a problem he would print until another came along. He enjoys all the fine details that lead to ink kissing paper. He has a BFA with a dual concentration in sculpture and ceramics. The sculptural quality of the old presses and machinery is what originally drew him to letterpress. This soon became a passion for the imperfect and tactile feel of old type and ink meeting paper. Much of his work involves using antique type and images from Big Wheel Press’ extensive collection to create snarky and Pop Cultural Broadsides. He also creates linocuts combing hand-carved images and text to create something reminiscent of reference figures from old books and manuals.
Blue Moon Trio will play the reception, Saturday, November 11, 4-6pm. Blue Moon Trio plays songs from The Great American Songbook, also known as "American Standards." It is the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century. Included are the most popular and enduring songs from the 1920s to the 1950s created for Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musical film. The Songbook comprises standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin, and also Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers, and others. The trio is Michael Suter, upright bass, Phillip Rowland, guitar, and Peter Farber, tenor saxophone.
“Prove to Me You Got Some Coordination” letterpress monoprint, wood type by Lisa Hersey
Shelburne Falls galleries and businesses celebrate a different theme or simply focus on what's new in their venue the 2nd Saturday of each month. Please come and enjoy all our small town has to offer.
ANDREW QUIENT: an Intersection of Pottery & Architecture is the featured exhibit for the next Second Saturday, December 9. Join us for this reception 4-6pm with music by Loren Feinstein. Check out ShelburneFalls.com to be updated on all the doings in town!