On a fine sunny Sunday morning a bunch of enthusiastic printers, family associates and general public gathered at MOTAT to witness New Zealand's first steamroller print. Lesley Smith, the director of Lopdell House Gallery was the mastermind behind the event which was to become the culmination of MOTAT's 'Journey of a Book' month.
Over the four weekends in August, workshops were held at MOTAT, giving children, and older folk, an opportunity to create a book, by making paper, printing on a press, book binding and finally being part of the steamroller printing. We were a bit apprehensive about how the A4 linocut pieces would stand up to the 8 tons of weight, but they weren't affected at all, in fact the second and third runs printed up better than the first. As you can see, we had a problem of more pressure on the outside edges than through the centre area. Because I could only stay for the first run, I am not sure how they solved this, other than maybe the tar sealing got more level with each run.
We had an initial problem when after inking half of the cuts and laying them on the ground a lot of dust and grit stuck to them, and we had to clean them off and reink them. But otherwise it was a fairly straightforward print run. We printed on to 'Rock Stock', a new product to New Zealand. Rock Stock is a paper made of ground up rock set in resin. It is a synthetic stock, is strong and unrippable, waterproof, but takes printing ink well and printers ink dries without problems. I understand a roll was donated by the NZ Rock Stock agents, for which we are most grateful. It proved a good choice for this project, as it performs like a coated stock giving a good bright print.
Thank you to all those who put time into cutting some wonderful linocuts. The results are hanging as large banners in a room near the print shop at MOTAT if you want to view them. The linocuts can be returned to anyone who wants theirs back. They are all still useable. I will soon have all the cuts done by the folk who got lino from me. You are welcome to make more prints off them at GTO Printers some time.
Thanks Lesley for motivating us to run with what proved to be a fun and very successful event.
And three cheers for Mr Gutenberg and steamrollers!