Friday, November 19, 2010

Of giraffes and steamrollers

My friend Jean Gumpper teaches printmaking at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She also taught me a thing or two this past August at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and whoo-EEE. That woman is amazing.

She also might be slightly out of her mind. Which sort of goes without saying if one is a printmaker, but there are extremes even in this particular subculture.

I knew I was headed to The Springs this week, so a few days ago I sent Jean a note to see if she was available for a cuppa and found out that today was going to be Steamroller Printing Day. Her students had been laboring over huge woodcuts and this was the day they'd go under the rollers.

So of COURSE I was there to watch some of the fun. I shot a bunch of video, but am not inclined to figure out how to use the editing software at this exact moment, so you'll have to settle for stills clipped from the file. You've all heard me muttering about wanting to work BIGGER, and today did nothing to stifle that desire. All the way home I was wondering if there's a place here in Salida that I could rent one of these little babies myself. And where I might find a suitable expanse of pavement. And bigger carving tools.

Oh? And the giraffes? While I was in town I took an hour to stop in at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and make a few sketches. Bullfrogs, orangutans, and a giraffe in a position I'd never seen before. I kept wondering if s/he was going to be able to get up again.

Going back to work on my lino tomorrow is going to seem pretty darn tame after today.


  1. Steamroller printing is a new one on me! Great fun for lovers of teamwork too! Thank you for this and for the beautiful new snow linocut. I can't wait to see the finished work.

  2. Oh, wow! That looks like fun.

    Wonder if it'd be possible on an even bigger scale with aerated concrete slabs instead of wood blocks in which to carve the image? (I haven't thought this through.) (At all.)

  3. I'm sure that Salida Rentals has a Whacker like that. Could be pretty fun! You could do a group thing...

    On the giraffe: she couldn't get up. Another giraffe knocked her down as they were competing for tidbit held by a zoo visitor, and she fell. They finally got her into a sitting position, but she was twenty and hurt, and her condition "deteriorated" until they finally had to end her life. So yours might be her last portrait. ;~(

  4. i love jean's work!! and the steamroller printing looks like fun!