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Edition of 1404 of which 300 copies are signed 1-300, 26 copies are signed A-Z as artist's proofs, and four sets are signed as progressives.

December 15, 1976 Six colors 18" x 24"

Client: Full Circle Gallery, 1527 Fourth Avenue, Seattle WA. Telephone (206) 682-7654 A-Z: Artist's own use

(Strathmore Paper Company Certificate of Excellence; Communication Arts' CA77 Exhibition; Print Casebooks 3; Reproduced as the cover of Elementary Technical Mathematics, Ewens, Nelson, Pickard, Second & Third Editions, Wadsworth Publishing Co, 1978)

Second printing 2406 copies, no signed copies, no progressives, no alterations. February 6, 1977

The comfort and reliability of things. Old companions, trustworthy allies. Knives, guns, tools, machinery. Old as Man. Not, I might say, as old as Woman. Things that make noise and cause harm or change come from men. Women like things the way they are. Cold iron is a specific against witches, who also cannot cross running water. Old gods hate and fear metal. Old gods love wood and are highly territorial. Old gods, older than agriculture. Older than patriarchy. So old they have no faces.

A blade may turn in your hand, cutting you to the bone, but it's nothing personal. It's because you mishandled or didn't sharpen it when you should have. Tools do what you say and don't talk. Metal and oil perfume my life. Steel has a cold, anxious smell that you get to like. It wants to be used, to work, to cut, to change and to strive. A properly designed weapon leaps to the hand. A printing press yearns for sedition. A veterinarian told me that he loved animals, it was their masters he couldn't stand. We who surrender our days to brother lead and sister steel understand this.

"To these I turn, in these I trust- Brother Lead and Sister Steel. To his blind power I make appeal, I guard her beauty clean from rust. -Siegfried Sassoon, The Kiss, from War Poems: 1915-1917, Collected Poems, 1908-1956, Faber and Faber, 1986

So we're sitting there in the bar and we've had dinner and beer and more beer and all the while the subject of the design which I sent him a week ago has not come up. It's becoming increasingly obvious that we're not talking about something-what my great-grandmother called, "the dead horse in the middle of the living room floor." "And how is your pregnant twelve-year-old daughter, Mrs. McGurgle?" And how's the Mister now that he's succumbed to The Failing again? Still out of work, is he now?"

So at last I say, "Well, what about the design?" and he responds with those chilling words, "We love your work but this . . . this just isn't us." What he means by that is that he had something in mind that he didn't tell me about and assumed that I'd osmose it but of course I didn't. So I say, "Well, I really like this design and I'd like to print it anyway." And he says, "We'd probably be compelled to take legal action if you did." So here we are at loggerheads and my bladder is about to go, I mean we've been drinking beer for five hours and my back teeth are having a boat race, so I take the bull by the horns and I say, "Look. Why don't you pick someone out of this room at perfect random and ask them what they think of this design and if they like it we'll go with it and if they don't like it then we'll drop the whole thing. I gotta go to the can."

So I go see a man about a horse and when I come back he's got this sheepish look on his face and I know I've won but I don't know why. Well, what he did was cheat. All evening we've been served by this buxom, cheerful, apple-cheeked, Iowa corn-fed blonde barmaid and he figured that she was probably as dumb as a brick and so he picked her and asked her what she thought of the design. It turns out that she's an amateur printer with a Chandler and Price 10 x 15 snapper in her basement and plenty of handset type plus she not only is familiar with my work but collects it. So there he was, screwed, blewed and tattooed and he had no-one to blame but himself. So I printed it. When it turned out to be a winner he reminded me how much he'd liked it all along.