Monday, August 16, 2010

Time to Buy More Plate Oil

As a poor graduating college student, I needed some burnt plate oil for printmaking, but didn't have the funds to buy any, so I snitched some in a Deer Park water bottle from my university print studio. (Don't tell my professor Brad Shanks!) This oil comes in several viscosities, and is used to either thin or thicken oil based printing inks. It has been many, many years since then, and that bottle seemed to be bottomless, and never ending.  It moved with me from to my various studios in Florida, across the country to Durango, and then up to Boulder. Over the years drips would run down the outside of the bottle, coating it in the honey colored oil. The top got so coated, I could no longer screw the cap back on. The bottle got so sticky, that a few years ago I stuck it in a paper coffee cup to catch the drips.
Well, while teaching a workshop recently I realized the bottle was actually getting pretty low.  Squinting with one eye, and peering into the depths of the bottle, there was some left, but not much.  It took a while for the oil to finally pour out after holding the bottle upside down and shaking it vigorously like a stubborn ketchup bottle.  I obviously don't use burnt plate oil very much if it has taken me this long to use it up, but it's sad that it's time to replace it.  Maybe I'll buy a new can and refill the old water bottle so it can live on.  After all this time, I can't let it go now, can I? It's been a fixture in my studio for so long.  When I teach workshops, I tell my students the story about the old oil filled water bottle that I've had since college. So with some hesitation and nostalgia for the old bottle, I've finally realized it's time to buy my own plate oil.  I wonder how long the second bottle will last...

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