Woodblock Printing

This past weekend I participated in the 2nd annual Steamroller Print Fest in OKC. It was held at [Artspace] at Untitled in conjunction with BIG INK and featured an exhibit of large block prints as well.
To read about block printing (probably more than anyone really wants to know about block printing) click here or just read my quick explanation which is: Get a specific type of wood (called MDF at home improvement stores), draw a design on it (if you are including letters or numbers or very exact shapes like the state of Oklahoma draw them backwards), hack away at the board until everything that you don’t want printed is gone, rub ink all over the raised bits, press onto paper.
Steamroller fest? Make the blocks much larger and run over them with a steamroller. Yeah, an actual steamroller 😀

Steamroller1

See the blue carpet pad the 5 ton steamroller is about to roll over? Under that pad is a 1/2 thick piece of MDF that someone has spent an untold number of hours carving and a piece of Tyvek.

Steamroller2

I carved two 4′ X 2′ pieces of MDF for the event. I would estimate that between the rough drafts and other preliminary work and the actual carving I spent about 70 hours on my boards. Under the steamroller. Which made my efforts to not knock the 4 foot long block against door frames seem kinda silly, in retrospect.
In the picture below, two Artspace artists hang a sheet of printed Tyvek on the side of the gallery and studio. The sheets of Tyvek were large enough to accommodate 4 woodblocks measuring 4 X 2 feet. The wood carving on the left is my block of the Statue of Liberty and the partial one on the right belongs to Marwin Begaye.
Artspace Artists
If BIG INK comes to your town go check it out – or better yet – get a wood block of your own to carve.
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