Road machine rolls over student art in printmaking process

Artists lift a collection of woodcut prints made Thursday by a road roller at Colorado Mesa University. Participants included CMU art students and faculty, International Baccalaureate students from Palisade High School and visiting artists. An opening reception for the pieces is from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Art Gallery in the University Center. The exhibit of giant prints runs through Nov. 2.

Artists position fabric over woodcuts. The road roller will be driven over them in a printmaking process.

The students stood in two parallel rows holding down layers of cloth with their body weight protecting their art, carefully stepping back before a heavy road roller came close to crushing their toes.

“Here we go,” one student said with excitement as she peeled back the cloth layers to reveal her original print.

The Colorado Mesa University Gallery sponsored the first Road Roller Printmaking event Thursday.

The show features original art created by students, faculty and high school artists who carved large slabs of birch or plywood with original mirrored images.

It took most students two weeks to carve the large stamps. They were more than excited to see their projects turn into oversized prints.

“It think this project is awesome, and we’ve been so excited about it since we heard about it last year,” said senior Candace Marolf, 21.

The wood was layered with newsprint or cotton fabric, then covered with a heavier material before being smashed by a small road roller donated for the day by Asphalt Specialists and Supply of Grand Junction.

“We would love to buy one of these so we could do it all the time,” Marolf said of the roller.

The oversized prints, some more than 72 inches in size, will be revealed at the grand opening event from 6–8 p.m. today at the University Center.

The event is free and open to the public. Some of the artwork will be for sale. The show will be on display from noon to 
4 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 2.


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