The Heavy Duty Press is, first and foremost, a private press, inasmuch as it exists for the pleasure of its proprietor. By definition, the press is not for hire, but rather functions as a medium for creative expression. The Heavy Duty Press may also be classified as a fine press, as it employs antiquated but superior letterpress printing to create limited edition books, broadsides, and ephemera. However, there is, admittedly, a level of “fine” in the world of book arts that is humbling, and it is a qualification I feel I have yet to attain, or attempt to attain, and do not necessarily seek. Small press is also fitting, given the size of the operation and its output, especially in relation to the the grand fine presses of the 21st century. Additionally, The Heavy Duty Press may be classified as a producer of artist’s books, insofar as the books are designed and created as objects d’art. The Heavy Duty Press is, and has always been, a pastime and not a profession.
Regardless of classification, the press continually strives to sustain itself through sales of the books, broadsides, and ephemera it creates. And therefore, with a bit of reluctance (because it feels self-indulgent), it is upon me to persuade you, the presumed collector, to support the press through purchasing any or all of the books and prints I have made.
The Heavy Duty Press has remained active since 1993, through several incarnations. Over time, skills increase, the quality of work improves, and themes solidify, as each new project builds upon everything that has come before it. Building upon a solid record of self-driven creative production over three decades, with more time becoming available for The Heavy Duty Press each year, it is reasonable to anticipate a growing catalog of good books in the future.
Creative projects in book form began with a hand-drawn, offset printed grocery fanzine in 1993 (The Sphere, Kopralaliac Pressure, Uninc). The acquisition of a printing press and metal type in 1995 set the stage for the publication of two anthologies of Milwaukee-area writers (Crux, Dead Art Limited) from a lofty, drafty studio space on the fifth floor of what was then The Milwaukee Antique Center, at 341 N. Milwaukee Street, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Milwaukee. Marriage and the purchase of a new home with conveniently attached studio space led to the shop being relocated to St. Francis in 1998, where three more titles were published between 2000 and 2004. An employment opportunity as a graphic designer required a much-desired relocation to Viroqua, Wisconsin, in the fall of 2004. This move put the press in cold storage for the next ten years, during which time children were raised, and books were designed on a computer, and laser printed with today’s technology on high-tech machines. In 2014, an old shed presented itself as a possible home for the press. After approval and refurbishment of said shed, with new windows, insulation, and siding, it was christened Der Klubhaus upon the printing of The Declaration of Orientation in February 2017.
The Heavy Duty Press now resides comfortably within the 256 square foot, unplumbed Klubhaus in the Township of Liberty, in the driftless region of rural southwest Wisconsin, nestled in a quiet hollow, below an ongoing restoration of native prairie, at the base of a woodland hillside with managed walking paths. The minimalist shop includes 76 fonts of metal type, a manual slug cutter, a Vandercook SP 15 flatbed cylinder press with electric motor removed, a 36-inch paper cutter, a work table, desk, typewriter, and sink with gravity-fed water supply. Electricity powers air conditioning in the summer, heat in the winter, and lights when necessary. The modest size of the studio lends itself to small scale work and small editions. In some cases, the edition size is only 26, which results in a higher price, but adds value, due to scarcity and potential collectibility.
As set forth in The Declaration of Orientation, The Heavy Duty Press shall heretofore focus, albeit loosely, on themes “related (but not limited) to thoughtful and sustainable living in the driftless region and beyond.” Nature and the cosmic energy of life shall be the guiding light.
Your support of The Heavy Duty Press is money well-spent. You can be assured that you are purchasing high quality books and prints, backed by a Satisfaction Guarantee, with the potential of increasing value. Sales help cover the expenses of maintaining the press and the property, utilities, supplies, and the funding of future projects.
If you are a private collector and view art as an investment, this is the time to begin collecting The Heavy Duty Press. If you are simply a person wishing to purchase something of real value for yourself or as a gift, be assured that you are buying high quality, hand-made, thoughtful work. It is not my place to say whether or not your purchase will increase in value, but I do feel as if I am creating an important body of work documenting a unique perspective during an important time in human history. There might be some value in that.
And finally, a special appeal to libraries—the original internet—the free, and commercial free network of knowledge and information: Your support of The Heavy Duty Press is appreciated not only for my own budget, but in the name of making books and prints from The Heavy Duty Press available for everyone, regardless of financial status.
Discounts are made available to libraries, dealers, and all standing order subscribers.
Word of mouth is the only advertising worth having. As anyone with an ounce of honesty is well aware, advertisements are for things you do not need. They are distractions and an assault on one’s naturally inclined mental activity. I don’t want any part of that. Furthermore, tooting one’s own horn is kind of obnoxious behavior, and there is always the possibility of disappointing the person whose attention has been called. It sets up an expectation which may not be met. I am afraid to claim worthiness, as I am self-deprecating and have observed so much excellence in the work of other presses and other artists. Therefore, I feel it is best for you to find me on your own, and for you to be the judge of whether or not what I do has Value.
Aside from that, advertising takes time and mental effort. I am grateful for the relatively free internet and the opportunity it provides for sharing information. Creating this informational website is all the time I want to spend persuading anyone to support the The Heavy Duty Press—a private press, which prints solely for my own pleasure.
Ultimately, I am simply entertaining myself, and I am hopeful that will entertain and inspire others. How serious can you get when you are one in eight billion people that have only existed on earth for a geological minute or two?
I have a fairly short list of libraries, dealers, and collectors who receive prospectuses for new titles when they are available. If you would like to be added to that list, please contact me.
Many of the books and prints are available via Etsy.