Steamroller Printmaking

steamroller prints hanging to dryDon’t know why it is, but people like to go big. Guess I’m no exception. Steamroller printmaking seems to be gaining in popularity. My Yukon print-maker colleague and friend Joyce Majiski invited myself and 19 others to each create their own 48″ x 40″ (121.92 x 101.6 cm) woodcut to be printed with a steamroller driven back and forth over the inked up block. Of course it wasn’t a steamroller in the historical sense, which would be pretty cool. We used a compactor, the kind you see working on highway construction. The event took place on the 9th of August, 2013 in Whitehorse Shipyards Park next to the Yukon River. Too much fun.

This video shows the whole process of inking and printing my first steamroller woodblock, with everyone pitching in. Mine is the first one hanging to dry on the building. I managed to pull an edition of two.

Regarding my design I decided to make a small wood engraving huge by blowing up a detail onto this large format woodblock. We all used good-one-side half inch birch plywood. Unfortunately it wasn’t the highest grade and had to deal with a lot of de-lamination of the top veneer. Lots of repairs were required.

Here’s a bit of the actual cutting of the block;

I was super pleased with the resulting print. We were allowed only two printings each. Now I have to figure out how to pull a small edition. I guess doing it by hand isn’t exactly feasible.

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