Where in the world is… Bess?

Once we get through the standard rounds of Bermuda questions, there’s a quick pause while my conversation partner processes it all, and then their eyebrows raise as they ask, “Oh! What are you going to do with your press?”

The answer is… bring her along for the ride! I realize shipping a 400-pound antique printing press to another country maybe isn’t the most practical course of action, but I look at it as an investment in my personal happiness. I considered leaving her at my parents’ house and just printing when I go home to visit, but had I left her for a few months previously and it’s just not something I want to do for the next 3-5 years, or however long we’re here.

press 3A few weeks before the big move, my dad and I took her apart into two main pieces, the fly wheel and lots of smaller bits, above. I spent a Saturday rubbing wax over every inch of her to protect from any water and humidity—which also had the added benefit of cleaning more of the 100-year-old gunk from her frame than I thought possible. Then we packed her up along with all my studio supplies, securing everything to a pallet and built a wooden crate around it all. We then shipped it to a facility in New Jersey.

New wood type that I haven't even had a chance to use! I can't wait to print with it.
New wood type that I haven’t even had a chance to use! I can’t wait to print with it.

She’s currently on a container ship on her way to the island. I’m not exactly sure what happens now—some people have said that since I just moved here, my crate will breeze through customs. Others have said it will probably sit on the dock for 2-3 weeks and cost me several hundred dollars in duty to release. Who knows! Either way, I can’t wait for her to arrive—and don’t worry, I’ll share more pics as soon as my studio/office here is set up!

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