Hi! Thanks for being interested in our little press! We are Martin Schneider and Dominik Schmitz, two designers from Cologne, Germany.
About three years ago we noticed that intaglio printmaking is only accessible to a small group of artists, most of which don't have the option to get themselves one of the very expensive and heavy printing presses or work in one of the very few printmaking workshops in art universities or private institutions. And because we love these very old and beautiful art techniques so much, we wanted to give more people the option to use them for their art in places where printmaking wasn’t possible before. We figured that the main challenge is to get access to an etching press, that’s the tool you need in order to print etchings, engravings, drypoints & co.
Our solution is the Open Press Project, a tiny 3D-printed etching press that will let you use these techniques outdoors, in your living room or small studio! In 2018 we published free plans for this press online (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2841592) and were overwhelmed by the support we received from the community, almost 60k people downloaded the files in the past three years! Artists from all over the world started to 3D-print themselves their own small printing press in all sorts of colours and with their own modifications! Universities started to use them in their art classes, more than 100 international artists submitted prints to the Open Press Collection in 2019, an open call that showed the vast possibilities of printmaking on tiny pieces of paper.
When we received the very first photo of someone using our tiny press for their art, we realised that we somehow managed to create something worth growing and pursuing, so that’s what we did! A crowdfunding campaign in 2019 with almost 1500 backers was aimed at making the presses available for people without access to a 3D-printer. And after a long and tricky journey of founding a company and figuring out how to efficiently manufacture large amounts of tiny 3D-printed etching presses, we are now able to ship etching presses worldwide, so that every creative out there who wants to join the printmaking community can give it a go!
We value our small Open Press community above everything else and are driven by the idea of making printmaking as accessible as possible while at the same time give people a high quality etching press. This thought is part of every decision we make, including some exciting things we are working on at the moment! Check out presses and prints from all over the world and don’t miss news on our Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/openpressproject/).
You have ideas about how we can make printmaking more accessible together? Write us an email, we are always excited to hear about workshops, events and other projects!
Special thanks to our local printmaking studio Kölner Graphikwerkstatt! Thanks to Sven Buchert and Jutta Vollmer for all the help and a huge thanks to Robert Schneider for enabling us to 3D-print thousands of parts. This would not have been possible without you all!