I'm Jess Hough. I'm an artist, printmaker, and carpenter based in Moab UT. There's a lot of amazing stuff to be inspired by out in the red rock deserts, so I've been spending as much time as I can out there. In 2023 I did a several-month artist residency with the national parks here in SE Utah as the Community Artist in the Parks. During the residency I did plein air drawing out on the trails and printmaking demos in the visitor centers throughout the year. In 2024 I'm looking forward to working on designing & building a bike-powered pulp beater as my project for the Moab Arts Reuse Residency. When I'm not sitting in the desert staring at rocks for several hours at a time, I'm doing small carpentry jobs around town, pulling prints or making paper in my living room, teaching workshops, selling work at craft fairs, or workshopping tools and materials to incorporate into new projects. If you want to get in touch, jess.h.makes@gmail is probably the best way.
Intaglio is a category of historic printmaking that was common in Europe beginning in roughly the late 1300s, when it was first developed. It didn't fall out of widespread use until the invention of newfangled printmaking technology like metal-plate lithography made it obsolete in the early 1800s. Within the category of intaglio there are three main historic methods: etching, engraving, and drypoint. There are very few modern commercial applications for this kind of printmaking, but the unique textures and details you can get with the process have kept it alive as an art medium.
I fell in love with this kind of printmaking accidentally, by way of studying art history. It took several years for me to figure out methods and build tools that work for me to do it in my home studio, but now I have a cheap, portable intaglio setup I can bring anywhere!
Although I've done a little etching and engraving, I've really started to specialize in the other kind of intaglio: drypoint. In this process, a plate of metal or plastic is carved by hand with a needle to create a detailed image, which is then inked and run through a hand-powered press to create each print. Each print responds to slight variations in the paper, water, ink, and press, so no two are the same.
I designed and built the presses I print with, using old fence posts and scrap wood. Part of what I enjoy about this handmade printmaking is trying to make as many of the tools and components as I can. I make my own paper, moulds and deckles, and frames for displaying finished work from a variety of materials.
I made the little one first in spring of 2020 and the big one in winter 2023. The wheels are carved plywood and both disassemble to go wherever.
I make papermaking supplies as I need them. This is my current setup. I've made boxes in different sizes to hold slurry, a small press, and a few different mould & deckles to fit different prints.
Spending time drawing from life and observing a particular place as light and weather move through is one of my favorite things to do.