Foam Blanket for the Etching Press

by | Amusement (↓) | Consistency (↑) | 0 comment | question

This is a foam blanket, bought from Langans on Fore Street. You can see the date when it was purchased written on the end. So the Studio Manager knows how long it has been used for before it is replaced. This one is getting quite manky, but its still good. When the blanket is new it behaves differently to when it is 'bedded' in. We have to adjust the pressure on the press accordingly.

Where and how is it used?

It is used on the etching press at Double Elephant Print Workshop. Traditionally wool blankets are used on etching presses - three to be precise, and they have different names: sizing catcher, cushion and pusher. "Etching felts are used in sets of three on the etching press, and provide the cushion that creates embossment by pressing the paper into the recesses of the plate. Each blanket serves a different purpose and is therefore a different thickness, and is either woven felt or pressed felt." (http://www.takachpress.com/access/blankets.htm).

Why do we use a foam blanket? Because is is much much cheaper. About £40, instead of hundreds of pounds. Double Elephant is for printmakers of all different levels and experience. We teach a lot of beginners. We like to be friendly and accessible. Sometimes, new learners get something called 'printing fever' (not sure if this is an official term) and occasionally forget the paper, meaning the inky plate is printed directly onto the blanket... Because we want them to return, and because we don't want to bankrupt our minor margins, the foam blanket is a great alternative. However I have heard that foam doesn't degrade. This isn't in keeping with our ethical approach.

What did you or someone else pay for it?

We did.

Why do you want to add it to the museum?

Because it is a conundrum - one common, I guess, to many organisations trying to be ethical: to be people friendly now? Or threaten people friendliness in the future with non biodegradable material?


How was it made?

Is made in a factory

Is farmed

Is mass-produced

Is produced by local cottage industry

Is made to particular specifications

Is craft / hand-made

Is foraged

Is found

Is colonised

Is a service


Materials & Making

Who made or produced your commodity?

I don't know

Who was paid to make it?

I don't know

What skills does it take to make it?

I don't know

Where was it made?

I don't know

What does it cost to make it?

I don't know

What is it made from?

Buying & Owning

Who decides how much it costs?

Not answered yet

Who or what assesses its quality?

Not answered yet

Where is it sold?

Langans in Exeter

Who or what sells it?

Not answered yet

How did this thing arrive from where it was made to where you got it?

Not answered yet

Where is it used?

on the etching press

Where is it kept?

on the etching press

How and by whom is it cared for?

Not answered yet

How long will it last?

about 2 months

Where will it go when it's finished with?

it will be chopped up to make sponges for cleaning

What is it worth?

about £40


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