Roadworks: Steamroller Printing Street Fair
San Francisco Center for the Book
Sat Sep 19 12pm-5pm
This block party sponsored by the San Francisco Center for the Book is an irresistible photo op.
First, carved linoleum blocks are inked & laid in the street. Paper is carefully placed over the blocks, then heavy blankets.
A 2-ton steamroller is driven over the blocks twice, imprinting the paper.
The finished images are revealed to the crowd, often to a round of applause. One old lady was so delighted with the process that she actually jumped up & down as an image was about to be revealed. The images were contributed by a variety of artists. One large image, about 4 feet square, of a bear reading in a library, was especially popular with the crowd.
I enjoyed encountering the friendly vendors in the small print & book arts fair. They made me think I might enjoy taking up book binding as hobby. Ginger Burrell patiently & enthusiastically gave me a tour of her hand-made books incorporating a diversity of unexpected media, such as tiny LCD screens or the pockets from blue jeans. Listening to the fog horn noises on the CD included with her photographs of fog-shrouded landscapes really put me into the pictures. It is also good to know that there exists in my neighborhood M & H Type, a good old-fashioned type foundry.
I was very glad to meet Aaron Cohick, whose painstakingly manufactured art books I recently saw at Zine Fest. I mentioned the rather negative tone of the panel I saw recently about the demise of the book, & he had a wonderful response. In his view, "Digital is doing for the book what photography did for painting. It's setting the book free."