Friday, October 7, 2011

Off the Subject of Wines

This week I had the pleasure to spend  two days in Portland and take part in a couple of very cool events.
I drove up early and checked in to the Crown Plaza, which I had never heard of and found quite by accident using Google's new Hotel Finder. Very nice hotel that feels like it should be downtown. Classy, clean, and well appointed. The staff was great and so was the food. I took the MAX, located two blocks from the hotel right in front of the convention center.
After a pleasant ride in to Downtown I stopped in at South Park at 901 SW Salmon for a quick snack and a Lafayette (Martini glass + rinse of Grand Marnier + Sapphire Gin shaken with fresh mint, served VERY cold)
I ordered the Salmon Cakes, served with freesia lettuce and lemon curd. Absolutely wonderful and well within my diet.
Alexa , shown here, is a very accomplished  Bartender and was a fount of information about the food and the restaurant. I was very impressed and will make many return trips.
Next stop was the Portland Art Museum for a truly unusual experience, the "Object Stories" project.(Go to search and type in Gordon.)
I had taken a picture of my press, an old type high, hand crank press I had found at the bottom of the stairwell in Lawrence hall near my old studio. I got some help and hauled it up, put it back together, and used it for woodblock and lino block printing. There was also a piece of 3/4 inch plywood and a thin sheet of steel that could be used for etching but was not very efficient.
A few years later, after I had graduated and was working in my own studio I got a call from the Art Museum about printing a C.S. Price linoleum block that had been his 1929 Christmas card. His relatives had it and were willing to have it used for prints to give donors to the building fund during a large showing of Price's work.
I agreed, but after printing a few by hand, decided I needed to borrow a press.
I called the school and ask if I could used the old press and the Dean said that as far as he knew nobody ever used it and that I could just have it.
Allen Cox and I jumped in his van and picked it up, brought it up to the studio, and I printed 125 images for the show.
I used the press all the time for block printing but needed an etching press. I went down to Multi craft Plastics and ask for some advice about what to use for a press bed. They suggested Lexan and the last 12 years has proven them right.
I took the press to a machine shop and had them repair the gears, put on a wheel, and put on adjustment handles. $900 was a great price to get  it tuned up and ready. I ordered some press blankets and got to work.
One evening I had set up a workshop for a print collecting group I was part of and my friend Gordon Gilkey came along. We were created collagraphic plates and each time Gordon put his plate on the press bed he would get this odd look on his face. Finally he turned to me and said, in his deep resonant voice,"Where'd you get that press?" I told him and he smiled and said "By God, that's my old press!"
That night he regaled us with stories of printing on the press, which he said was old when he used it in 1938.
He would often call and stop by for a visit and to see how his old press was doing. Every time I use it I think of the legacy he left.
After that I went over to a reception for the Oregon Arts Conference at the Schnitzer, mingled a bit, then headed down to Urban Studio for the opening party Fashion Week. Greta party, with lots of people who looked as if they had no idea why they were there, but the music was good, the food was great, and the conversations were stimulating.
Back to the hotel and up early for breakfast and a brisk walk over to the Oregon Arts Commission Conference.

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