The Great Mangle Printing Press of 2017

I had a dream, ideally I wanted to turn my Grandpa’s two old and broken mangles (a mangle by the way is a machine that was used in the late 1800s till the early 1900s in NZ to wring clothes of water for drying) that had been sitting around taking up space, into a magnificent printing press. Realising this was way outside my realm of expertise, I figured I needed help. I did my research and was delighted when I finally found Johnny Mulvay of Classic Etching Presses.

Unfortunately when we took them down to his place in Waihi on the trailer they broke further! We did not know at that point that cast iron is strong like it looks but is brittle like china.

Luckily for me, Johnny is somewhat of a collector of mangles and so he had some spare parts. Since we took two mangles down, on the spot we also decided to turn the left over base of the other mangle into a table.

My heart was filled with hope but then I had to wait. Not something I do well. Anyway I managed, only because Johnny sent me update photos. So I was able to enjoy the process from a far.

 Three weeks later I was told I could pick it up. I was excited but deeply worried. Because if they broke, I knew I would cry, a lot. My level of personal attachment had grown day by day and they were now hitting the priceless category.

I tried to act brave and went down with the trailer and lots of foam to bring it home safety.

 When I arrived it turned out to be every bit as beautiful as I had hoped, actually better!

I had to get back to pick up the kids after school. Nothing like a little time pressure to keep you working hard. So I put a quick test print through, then it was time to dismantle it and pack it in the car and trailer.

The drive home seemed longer as I felt every bump I went over. I was very happy to get home without hearing any large bangs and I enjoyed loading every beautiful piece into the gallery.

 So excited to see it in my space I had to put it together that night. By some miracle we managed it. Then the next day a bit of tweaking and looking at it.

Yesterday I put a test print through just to check everything was printing evenly.


And so now I have my own printing press.

Every girls dream I am sure! Well definitely mine.


Katie Blundell Artist










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