Printmaking steamrolls onto Saddleback campus

Printmaking students and faculty came out to the theater circle at Saddleback College on April 25 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Steamroller Woodblock Party to create large prints, enjoy music from KSBR and dine from a food truck.

The Division of Fine Arts and Media Technology rented a three-ton steamroller for the day, so that students would have the ability to print from large-scale wooden blocks.

The event also offered the public a chance to participate in making their own free mini print and gave the option of purchasing a T-shirt to display their work.

Rick Reese, a drawing and printmaking instructor, explained the process of preparing the large woodblocks.

“You carve away a block and the parts that you carve away are white, and then the relief, which is the part that doesn’t get carved away, we ink that up and that’s the positive and then we print those,” he said. “It’s a really old process.”

Reese said students put a lot of work into their pieces before they’re ready to print.

“[The students] dedicate so much time to cutting these blocks, and as you go around and look at the prints you can see that they’re really detailed, so we just kind of stack them up in a big row and they each get 15 minutes and we just kind of run the steamroller through their prints,” Reese said.

He explained that the types of prints being made are relief prints, but in the classroom they teach a variety of different print types including etchings.

Amanda Godfrey, a 25-year-old printmaking student’s of Reese, said that she was printing on fabric, but some other students chose paper.

“I really like printmaking, because it’s something that you can produce multiples of the same image and just experiment with different techniques,” Godfrey said. “I’m really enjoying the camaraderie I’m experiencing today too. It’s a lot of fun.”

Vinita Voogd, associate faculty art instructor said this is the third year of the event.

“We have brought the art out to the campus from the studio,” Voogd said. “It’s a great way to use something industrial like a steamroller to do fine art, so it’s a beautiful contrast.”

As a printmaker herself since 1981, Voogd said she loves it for many reasons.

“I find printmaking so exciting, because there are so many techniques and mediums within printmaking,” Voogd said. “Everything changes. You never get bored just doing one thing over and over again, so it’s really exciting to teach and also for myself to learn. I learn from my students everyday.”

She said many people don’t realize that printmaking is an old medium.

“Printmaking really was invented when the Chinese emperors were having stones carved with their emblem, so a master carver would carve a flat stone push some pigment into it and put paper over to print the emblem,” she said. “It started in China, because paper was invented in China and as paper spread around the world, that’s where printmaking went.”