That’s how founder Lizzy Robinson describes the community art project – and I would have to agree with her! Established in 2016, Hard Pressed Steamroller Printing was soon upon us again in all it’s madness and oversized glory. I don’t know how it happened exactly, but I found myself signing up again to complete another gigantic 1200 x 900 woodcut print. When Lizzy dropped around the MDF board, I could have sworn it was even bigger than last year.
As I was also hired to tackle the design work and photograph the event, I told myself to just keep it simple…I stained my board with black ink and spent the next two days drawing up my design in white pencil.
So clearly simply went out the window quite quickly, and I went about designing the most insanely intricate carnivorous plant garden full of the friendliest little bog monsters. Drawing it up was all fine and good, but then came time to carve…
Why do I do these things to myself…
Luckily Lizzy had ordered some smaller tools this year, which were perfect for all my fine details. I also put my trusty Dremel to good use for some of the small dots.
So a month later of every spare minute and many, many late nights – I was FINALLY finished carving my woodcut. My poor back and hands were officially killing me, so I was thrilled to seal the board just in time for the official print days. I prepped my cameras and photography gear and arrived early to get all set up. I had a blast snapping away the day, capturing the event during the fun and excitement of the Sunshine Festival.
Because of the larger number of prints this year, a second day followed and the steamroller kept on rollin’. I continued to document the event with my trusty Pentax K5 and Fuji X100S. All of the steamroller prints were snapped as the event progressed, for inclusion in the exhibition catalogue. Finally it was time for my savage garden to be printed…
Luckily it turned out great and with all of the 1200 x 900 woodcuts completed, it was time to tackle the Midwest Mega Print! The 60 smaller boards carved in community workshops were inked up and laid out in a big long line and everyone helped out to lay down the roll of paper. We all held our breath as the steamroller travelled over and the paper was peeled back…
Two crazy exciting days of printing. I have never done so many lunges and squats in my entire life. I sprang out of bed the next morning to get stuck into the exhibition catalogues and my legs buckled. I only had another two days to put together 48 pages, so their was no time to waste.
The Hard Pressed 2017 Touring Exhibition started in Geraldton at ACDC Gallery, before moving onto The Cannery Arts Centre in Esperance. It will be officially opening at 6.30pm tomorrow night at the Old Boy’s School, 92 Adelaide Street Fremantle. See it while you can! If you are interested in purchasing my original print while at exhibition, enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
A big thank you to Lizzy Robinson for her tireless efforts in establishing and running Hard Pressed in the Midwest and beyond. Thank you to all of the participating art galleries, sponsors and volunteers for their enthusiasm and support. See more of my Hard Pressed event photos here.
Lizzy Robinson (Hard Pressed Co-ordinator)
Beware the Bog Monsters that Dwell in my Savage Garden
Revealed by moonlight beneath the glittering stars, Bog Monsters wait patiently to give you a fright. But they’re quite friendly really – just look at those smiles.
They just want to play with your pieces amongst the hungry flytraps, glistening sundews and pitfall pitchers.
Rachel continues to actively and passionately participate in a range of exhibitions, prizes, collaborations and community projects. She resides in her hometown of Geraldton, Western Australia with her partner, two dogs, two cats and carnivorous plant collection.