Monday, August 19, 2013

The problems of living with a printmaker.

This is the problem with the world. No time or respect for peanut butter...and don't even get me started on the practices of toothpaste. 

In Exhibit A (seen above) a knife has been used to make a sandwich or something of the like. This is a cardinal sin in my house. A sin that my wife laughs off, but no doubt will catch up to her when she has to give an account of her life. 

I am a printmaker. I was before I knew there was such a thing. Printmakers love process, steps, and how things are created. We also love craft and usually precision. My wife wanted to be a painting major in college. But at the small school she went to the painting faculty was also the printmaking faculty and you had to take printmaking to be a painter...she changed her emphasis because she had such a distain for printmaking. This is why she doesnt understand the logic of peanut butter jars. 

As a printmaker I not only enjoy the process but also the tools and history of a process. Most people make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as follows (or its at least how I think they make one)

Step One: pull out two slices of bread.
Step Two: get a knife and use this incorrect tool to stab to the bottom of the jar to get less peanut butter than you need. Repeat this step like a bird hunting a worm in a tree until you get what you need.
Step Three: use a different knife to stab at the jelly in your jar until you have what you need. If need be lift jar up and scrap out the insides as they fall on your sandwich and hand. 
Step Four: slap both pieces of bread together and enjoy your less than well crafted sloppy sandwich. 
Step Five: wish you were a printmaker

Here is how and a bit of why I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the way I do. 

Step One: Select bread, make a wise choice of grain and placement
Step Two: Get a spoon (not a barbaric knife). I use peanut butter as if it were printing ink out of the can (if you are right handed, if left handed reverse direction of rotation). Place the spoon at an angle back side facing yourself on the surface of the peanut butter and rotate jar in a clockwise direction and in one pull get what you need. Leaving the surface of the peanut butter clean and uniform. If you continue this healthy practice your jar will always look sharp and you will never be scraping the sided at the end. 
Step Three: Hold bread in your hand when applying the peanut butter. This allows the drop in your palm to collect more peanut butter and in a few seconds more jelly than its edges...So that when you bite into your sandwich nothing squeezes out. 
Step Four: using the same spoon, but now the front you can scoop out at much jelly as you need usually on the first go round. But what about the peanut butter getting in the jelly you say. As printmakers we are taught about the viscosity of layering inks and this is no different. The peanut butter being thinker and an oil based substance will not stick to your thinner water based substance.
Step Five: place both slices correctly aligned as they were cut from the loaf and enjoy your well crafted sandwich with the nice aftertaste of neat sustainable practices your mother would be proud of. 
Step Six: be thankful you are a printmaker.

Each of us has such a wonderful varied perspective on life. How things should be done and opinions on how to get there. An artists perspective is slightly different. From paper choices, pen choices (thats a big one) even to clothing choices and peanut butter, all of these are affected because as artists we are interacting with not only products and interacting and functioning within how they are made and why. So next time you make a sandwich please don't think like a painter but think like a printmaker.
 (**now next time you have to decide something quickly please think like a painter and not a printmaker, but thats a story for another time)

Seen above is Exhibit B: how peanut butter should look all the time when removed correctly. 


Earl Grey said...

I'm there with you as far as process and history. I feel as you do about peanut butter and, also, the tub of butter in the frig. Butter should not be gouged. It should be delicately removed and then smoothed for the next use. Toast crumbs in the butter tub after applying butter to your toast: please, no! That's barbaric.

Elizabeth said...

I remember you voicing your annoyances about peanut butter when I was a freshman in printmaking! :) I was a peanut butter stabber before I took your class.