Oliver Seeler's
~ Universe of Bagpipes ~


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~ New! ~
(October, 2012)

Our Own Production!

Unique, Beautiful, Super-Durable

Antique Historical Bagpipe Images
Printed On Rigid Metal, Not Paper!


Printed by Dye Infusion, a Breakthrough Printing Process

A classy yet affordable gift for a piping friend (or for yourself)!

No frames or glass needed, self-supporting, display anywhere, even outdoors!

Available exclusively from us. Made in the USA. Starting at just $22.00.
Special Introductory Pricing!



Above and Below: A Metal Dye Infusion print of a Wood Engraving, 1875, of a 42nd Highlander. 8 by 6 inches. The original print is one of over 270 in our collection. Scanned at 600 dpi and digitally processed here, then uploaded to a California photo lab and printed there into (not just onto) a rigid sheet of Aluminum. These prints look like fine paper under glass, there is no metallic tone or sheen whatsoever.




A Problem, And An Unconditional Guarantee!
The problem: It is impossible to convey in words and pictures just how great these metal prints are. You simply have to have one in hand to really understand what a huge difference there is between one of these beautiful solid objects and a piece of paper. While of course still two-dimensional, a metal print has a three-dimensional feel, in part because it can be handled, passed around, held and viewed this way and that, propped up on a desk, laid down on a table and so on with no concern at all about fingerprints, kinks, coffee spills or the cat jumping on it.

Therefore we offer an unconditional guarantee that you will be happy with these metal prints. If not, we will not only refund the purchase price but also postage in both directions!

Background:

For years we have been collecting hard-to-find original antique woodcuts, etchings and engravings depicting bagpipes and pipers. The collection presently includes over 270 such prints, the earliest from the late 1400s and the most recent from the early 1900s. Snapshots of the entire collection can be viewed at our sister site, www.hotpipes.net.

Our intention since beginning this collection has been to publish some of these wonderful images in a way that retains or even reinforces their ability to connect the viewer with the bagpipes and bagpipers of long ago. Just putting them on the Web doesn't quite do the trick. A book would be nice, but that's a huge project and in the end books spend most of their time closed. The obvious thing would be to publish high-resolution single copies on fine paper. But paper that is to be displayed must be framed for protection and support, which is both a hassle and not cheap. As a gift, unframed paper prints, no matter how nice, lack a certain feeling of substance and are difficult to present with any sort of flourish or element of surprise, and they can't even be giftwrapped easily. And the recipient is then left with the chore of framing and caring for something delicate. In short, as a gift paper prints include a good-sized nuisance factor both for the giver and recipient.

Some months ago a large, intensely brilliant glossy photograph sitting upright with no support around the edges caught our eye as we strolled past a local art gallery. We had never seen anything like it. It had astonishing depth and luminosity, almost like light was emanating from it rather than reflecting and it also looked like it was under glass. We discovered that this amazing photograph was printed not on photographic paper but on a sheet of rigid aluminum!

At first we thought it was some sort of laminated sandwich with a paper core but we soon learned that it was created by a new process called Dye Infusion. The image is actually infused, by heat and pressure, into not onto the specially coated rigid 1.2 mm thick stiff but lightweight aluminum plate. The world of photography is currently all abuzz about this new printmaking method, with many photographers stating that they have never seen their work look so good.

No Metallic Look
Ordinary printing on metal is of course nothing new, as you can see by glancing at that beer can in your hand. Often such printing has an intentionally metallic look to it in an effort to appear novel, with garish sunsets and such which have all the charm of an airbrush painting of Elvis on black velvet. Our dye infusion metal prints have no metallic cast or sheen whatsoever. The appearance is exactly that of fine paper under glass. (This may not be obvious in looking at the images on your computer monitor.)

We located a photo lab, Magna Chrome of Concord, California, that specializes in this new process and after discussing with their expert and helpful staff the suitability of the technique for printing fine-line black and white images rather than color photographs we broke new ground by having them print some test images of some of our antique prints. The results were great and we knew immediately that this is the answer to our quest for a way to present some of the collection.



Above and below: Here's a large metal print, 16.5 by 11.5 inches, the front page of a French newspaper magazine from 1909 in our collection, showing an attempt by an English swimmer to cross the English Channel, with pipers keeping cadence. Few early prints are colored and even fewer were actually published in color (this one was published as seen here); more common is the questionable habit by some later print dealers (still ongoing today) of sending prints to "colorists" with the hope that colorization will make the print more attractive to the casual buyer. Just as with the colorization of black and white films, the results are mixed and not to everyones' liking. Personally, we prefer prints in their original state but we do have some in the collection that have had color added later and that do look nice.


Some Practical Matters:

What do we mean when we say that these metal prints are completely different than any other printed media in terms of durability and care? Here's a little scenario in pictures (R.I.P., Billy Mays). Savannah is headed to a birthday party on a piper friend's boat with one of our metal prints, a gift she knows the piper will be able to display on board, an environment that would soon destroy any sort of paper print. Suddenly, out of the clear blue sky...



So, one of the best features of these prints is that they can be displayed in places that would destroy even framed paper prints in short order. Moisture won't affect them, dust and grime can be wiped right off, insects won't attack them and they won't get moldy. They do not require framing and glass would be redundant both for protection and appearance as the prints already have a glass-like surface. You can hang these prints in the kitchen, bath, workplace or garage, or even outdoors. The only caution is to avoid prolonged direct sunlight, which will eventually break down anything. Accelerated aging tests by industry labs are indicating that the life of Dye Infusion Metal Prints will exceed that of the best archival-grade photographic papers by a factor of two to three.

Another nice feature is that there is no need for mechanical support. The aluminum, while thin at 1.2 mm, is rigid and there is no sag whatsoever when a metal print is simply propped up for display on a bookshelf or desk. This is actually a great way to display one of these prints because it can be moved around, and it can be picked up and handled for viewing.

Mounting on a wall or other vertical surface can be accomplished in many ways, the easiest perhaps being to use double-sided foam adhesive squares or tape. Velcro works well too, and allows the print to be taken down easily for viewing if desired (this whole concept of handling a print to view it is unique to these prints, it just isn't done with paper).



Briefly, what is an antique print?

A print in the context used here is a work of art that has two primary features. One, it was created by an artist, working alone or with a team, as an original illustration of something. The image might be entirely original, or it might be an interpretation into a different medium of a previous work of art by the same or a different artist. Two, it was created with the intention right from the beginning for it to be reproduced multiple times, or in other words, to be printed. These are important points. These early prints are not just replications in an inferior format of greater works, like a photograph of a painting in an art book. Thus they often contain information not seen elsewhere. That's of particular interest in regard to bagpipes, as there is hardly any early written material about them and a good deal of what we know, and are still learning, comes from prints like these.

Early prints are often referred to by the technique by which they are made: Woodcuts, Engravings, Etchings and Wood Engravings are the most common sorts of early prints. There is a lot of confusion about these terms. In all events, prints with these names are made by cutting the image into or onto a block or plate of more or less hard material, ranging from wood to steel, applying ink to it, and then transferring the ink to paper by contact.

WOODCUTS are the earliest prints. A block or short plank of wood is carved, along the grain, so as to leave the desired image standing above the rest of the surface. The block is inked and applied to the paper in the same way that type, or for that matter an ordinary rubber stamp, works. The level of detail possible is limited by the coarseness and strength of the wood, and the blocks do not last long. Nevertheless, woodcuts can be both very beautiful and convey a lot of information, especially when made by the great masters of the 15th and 16th centuries.

ENGRAVINGS were first made on copper sheets and later on steel, with a variety of fine, sharp steel tools. The desired image is cut into the plate, with very fine lines being possible to provide shading and detail. This is laborious and tricky work, and one slip can ruin the piece. The finished plate is smeared with ink, and then wiped off, so the ink remains only in the cuts. Paper is then pressed onto the plate with a lot of pressure, forcing it into the cuts where it picks up the ink. Copper plates, being softer than steel, are easier to work with but wear out quickly. Steel plates have longer lives but they too eventually break down, creating prints that are not as sharp as before. Plates of popular prints would sometimes be re-cut, perhaps even with additions or subtractions to the image, resulting in a print that differed in one or more ways from a previous version. When a print is called "first state" or "second state" and so on, it is in reference to such re-workings.

ETCHINGS are also created on metal plates and printed in the same way as engravings, with the big difference being that the actual cutting is done chemically, with acid. The blank plate is coated with a waxy lacquer (called the "resist") that is impervious to the acid. The artist penetrates only this coating with his tools, exposing the metal underneath. Then the plate is immersed in the acid, which "carves" lines wherever it reaches the surface of the metal. The etching process allows the artist more freedom in making lines, as he is only cutting the soft resist, rather than hard metal. So etchings often have more of the feel of a drawing than do engravings. Corrections are also much easier. A drawback to the etching process is that lines are often not as crisp as in an engraving, because the acid tends to undercut the lines sideways a bit as it "bites" the metal.

WOOD ENGRAVINGS were a late development. Here the lines are again cut directly into the material, but into the hard, strong end-grain of wood blocks rather than along the grain. This method yields decent if not marvelous detail, and is faster and cheaper that engraving on metal or etching. Thus wood engravings were suited for use in the presses of early mass-printed newspapers, such as The Illustrated London News.

There are many variations, combinations and other complications of the above described printmaking methods, along with many different more modern methods, but there you have the basics of the four sorts of classic prints that comprise most of our collection. And now you can consider yourself saved from making the common error of referring to all such prints as "etchings"! ~ O.S., 2012



What's Available & General Purchasing Information

As mentioned, the two metal prints above are images from our collection of over 270 original antique paper prints. We picked these two to illustrate this Web page, and we have the metal prints of them on hand for immediate shipment. We are presently having metal prints of another six originals made for inventory, and we will be adding more. We are open to issuing a metal print of just about any of the prints in the collection. Again, snapshots of the entire collection are now to be seen on our sister site, www.hotpipes.NET (as opposed to this site, www.hotpipes.COM). At this time, there are no measurements listed with the snapshots of the collection (we are working on that). Some of the prints are quite small while a few are really big. So, for the moment, if you see something else there that interests you please contact us for size and price information. Meanwhile, here are the eight current selections shown in scale to one another and with sizes and prices:

(above prices are introductory and are valid as long as posted)

While our intention is to keep these eight prints in stock, we can't predict demand for this brand new offering. Fortunately the lab we're working with is fast, with a typical turnaround time of less than a week. But to be safe, especially if the print is going to be a gift, please leave yourself at least two weeks for delivery.

Custom orders are encouraged. We enjoy working with our collection and if you have something in mind, let us know. We can change the border width and color, for example. Shortly we will be offering framed custom text below an image, to create a classy presentation or award piece. We can place multiple images on a single large metal print. And so on.





Ordering and Payment


SHOPPING CART BUTTONS, below, can be used to purchase any of the items on this page. The on-line shopping cart system is administered by PayPal and is highly secure. The merchant (that would be us) never sees your card numbers. You do not need to have or create an account with PayPal to use it. There are no fees added at your end.

You can also order (or just ask questions) by calling us at:

(707) 937-1626

between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. U.S. Pacific Coast Time (GMT minus 7 - 8 hours), 7 days.

We welcome calls, which help both you and us be sure that you are getting what you expect and need!

You can also pay by various other methods, for example by mailing a check, using your PayPal account, and so on. For details not already mentioned above, including shipping policies, warranties, privacy, return policy, etc., please contact us and/or see the General Ordering Information Page.


Postage

Postage for 1st Class Mail within the US is added automatically to the below prices.

If you wish to purchase more than one print contact us. We will combine postage costs so you won't overpay.

If you require faster shipping, contact us.


Customers outside the US must contact us for postage costs and instructions.




Click the above button to view your shopping cart.


Metal Dye Infusion Print No.10: US $29.00 + 3.00 postage

Metal Dye Infusion Print No.19: US $24.00 + 3.00 postage

Metal Dye Infusion Print No.20: US $24.00 + 3.00 postage

Metal Dye Infusion Print No.36: US $29.00 + 3.00 postage

Metal Dye Infusion Print No.57: US $22.00 + 3.00 postage

Metal Dye Infusion Print No.80: US $49.00 + 5.00 postage

Metal Dye Infusion Print No.122: US $24.00 + 3.00 postage

Metal Dye Infusion Print No.130: US $79.00 + 5.00 postage





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Copyright 2002-2012, Oliver Seeler, Universe of Bagpipes