Printober: Steamroller Printmaking in Des Moines

Saturday October 22nd   Printober commandeered the parking lot at 215 East 3rd Street in Des Moines. From 1pm-4pm artists arrived with intricately carved wood blocks prepared to watch a one-ton steamroller drive over the work.

Organizers Catherine Dreiss and Mary Jones were inspired to put on the event after Dreiss attended a similar affair in Urbandale. The pair applied for a Chicken Tractor mini grant to put on the event and in the process earned the support of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and Christensen Development.

“I think it’s great for the community to see printmaking in action this way and hopefully it will encourage future events like this,” Dreiss said.

Artists took turns placing their blocks in the path of the roller and spectators watched as the roaring machine pressed the design onto cloth. The prints were then taken to dry in a nearby warehouse.

Mary Jones (left) and Catherine Dreiss (right) use their feet to hold a board steady as the steamroller prepares to drive over it.
Mary Jones (right) and Catherine Dreiss (left) watch as as the steamroller prepares to make it’s first pass over a print.

“The turnout was great, and the people who made prints-many of them were my students-they had a great time. And I think people asked a lot of questions and really enjoyed watching as well,” Jones said.

The prints will be displayed at Drake University’s Weeks Gallery and Prairie Meadows Gallery at Grandview University.






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