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Daily Press/Press Daily Artwork

Daily Press/Press Daily by Lisa Flowers Ross
14-1/2″ x 22″

Some ideas take longer to brew than others when creating artwork. Daily Press/Press Daily is a new artwork I created that is quite different from what I have been doing. My brain took its time to let the elements of this artwork come together. The base structure is a letterpress drawer that used to hold typeset pieces for printing. In the past, newspapers were printed by hand with each letter or image being set into the press. The drawers held the many pieces needed to create an article. That is where “Daily Press” comes into the title of the artwork.

My mother-in-law gave me the drawer, which we had planned to use for storage. However, what we wanted to store in it did not fit. So, the drawer sat in the closet for some time until I decided to use it for art. It remained there for some more time as my brain mulled over how to utilize it. In the meantime, I was also considering using more found materials, literally, in my artwork, due to my environmental concerns. I wanted to upcycle fabric, if I could.

Eventually, my brain brought the two things together and I came up with an idea that resulted in Daily Press/Press Daily. Men’s button-down shirts became the source for the fabric. I liked the connection of the clothing to a daily work day. I found them in the old clothes pile at home and at the thrift store. The colors were kept close to black and white to reference the black and white in newspapers. Determining the size of fabric I needed for each section of the drawer, I cut up the shirts into small pieces.

Cut up fabric pieces for Daily Press artwork.

The Process

Just like newspaper printing in the past, I printed the words “daily” and “press” on the fabric by hand using stamps. I stamped some with just one word and others with both words. Some with “daily” first and some with “press” first.

Stamped fabric for Daily Press artwork.

Then, I ironed each small piece of fabric into several folds. I did this daily for many days and definitely felt what women in the past must have felt ironing work shirts or other clothes for their families daily. That is where the phrase “Press Daily” comes into play.

Ironing the stamped fabric.
Stamped, ironed and folded fabric pieces.

Once I had all the fabric ironed and folded, I arranged them in the sections of the box. I tried several different variations until I finally settled on one. Then, I sewed the pieces in each section together and glued them to the drawer. 1280 pieces of fabric were stamped, ironed, folded and glued into the drawer. I used the majority of four men’s button-down shirts. The stacked pieces remind me of stacks of newspapers.

Detail view of Daily Press/Press Daily artwork.
Daily Press/Press Daily detail

I am very happy with how it turned out. It will be on display in the 2021 Contemporary Art Survey exhibition at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado starting Nov. 10, 2021.