Steamroll Spectacular!: St. Michael’s Printshop 40th anniversary makes really big print for really big anniversary

On the night before the Regatta, the Printshop crew will be using a steamroller like a giant printing press to make a huge, Regatta-themed print.

Traditionally, the 40th anniversary is the “ruby”anniversary. For St. Michael’s Printshop’s 40th Anniversary celebrations, they opted for heavy construction machinery.

On the night before the Regatta, beside Quidi Vidi Lake, the Printshop crew will be using a steamroller like a giant printing press to make a huge, Regatta-themed print.

St. Michael’s Printshop (SMP) is an artist-run print studio which provides professional fine art printmaking facilities for established and emerging artists. “The Printshop exists to promote, develop, and preserve printmaking as an art form,”says Erin Heys, Business Events Manager at St. Michael’s Printshop. SMP provides space for artists, scholarships, residencies, workshops, and its own art gallery.

Founded by artists Heidi Oberheide and Don Wright in the 1970s, the Printshop was originally located in the community of St. Michael’s. In 1986, the Printshop relocated to its current, downtown St. John’s location.

So, about that steamroller…here’s how it’s done:

STEP 1: Choose an image

“In celebration of a beautiful St. John’s summer and all the city has to offer, we have opted to do a Regatta scene! This is all done ahead of time by a team of young, volunteer artists,”says Heys.

STEP 2: Make a stencil

The print will be done using a printing technique called a linocut, which is similar to a woodcut,where a sheet of linoleum is used for the relief surface. “Using various carving tools (basically different types of knives and gouges), an image is carved into a large piece of basic, everyday linoleum…the kind you find in your kitchen,”says Heys.

STEP 3: Paint it up

“On the day of the event, thick, black ink is rolled on to the carving, a giant piece of paper is placed on top.”

STEP 4: Drive over it with a steamroller

“The intense pressure from the weight of the steamroller presses the paper into the carving and the ink is transferred onto the paper –creating a beautiful print!”, says Heys.

In celebration of the St. Michael’s 40th Anniversary, the printshop has a series of events on-going throughout the year.They’ll be bringing their travelling printing press to the St. John’s Folk Festival, launchingtheir 40th Anniversary Book, curated and written by Kevin Major, and lots more. The Calendar of Events page can be found here: http://stmichaelsprintshop.com/calendar-of-events/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StMichaelsPrintshop

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