Sage College in Albany, New York hosted a unusual event: "Steamroller Print Day." I walked into the Armory on Saturday morning to find a small crowd of students and faculty inking up plates that varied from reasonably sized collagraphs to a 4 foot by 9 foot woodcut, with the driver watching dubiously as he lined up his full sized steamroller.
Many of the artists were students in the undergraduate program at Sage, but the massive woodcut was carved by two Niskayuna High School students, and was being inked and printed by two more students from Niskayuna. I was impressed to hear they’d used a dremel for easier carving – some woodcuts might need to happen in my own studio soon. Also, can I use a dremel to etch zinc plates?
They set the plate within an orange-duct-tape box on the ground, and laid the paper over it. Instead of typical press blankets, a large carpet pad served to protect the plate. Instead of a normal printmaking press, these artists would be relying on the weight of an industrial steamroller to apply pressure. We gathered around for an anxious test print as the driver pulled forward, then turned the wheel to keep within the lines on the ground – causing the two rollers to pivot at different angles and sliding the papers beneath. The test print came out slightly blurred across the center, and not as clear or solid a black as wanted.
These students will definitely laugh telling their friends they got to print using a steamroller. I'm off to google how much a steamroller costs - what's the strangest way you've ever made artwork?
Artist. Art Teacher.
© Katherine Chwazik 2020, All Rights Reserved