STEAMROLLER vs LINO #bigsteamprint #arthappens

STEAMROLLER vs LINO #bigsteamprint #arthappens

January 21, 2016

After 9 months of planning, a 5am start, & Ernie scoffing my sandwiches before we'd even got ourselves out of the door, we hurtled Westwards on the A27, stopping only to replace said sarnies with sad service station ones. Not being the sort of person to turn down a golden opportunity at a checkout, I also bought a bag of custard filled doughnuts. It happens. We arrived at Amberley Working Museum to a cavalcade of hurrahs & cups of tea; something tells me the enthusiastic welcome was for the doughnuts rather than us. Anyway, the printing, the printing....

Lucy Jenner from Ditchling Museum planned the whole day to the last minute, she also wrote a script for the ArtFund video, & pitched to the camera... which meant it all went horribly right, despite sub zero temperatures.

The boiler was filled with water, the fire was stoked & in 2 hrs flat, the 12.5 ton steamroller was hot & hissy! Conversations around the cooking of baked potatoes, bananas stuffed with chocolate buttons & full roast dinners in the steamroller's oven ensued as we waited for THE moment when the old beast could chuff & parp it's way up the hill to the White Pit... 

At the White Pit, the beast waited, poised for attack...

We warmed the lino in the Museum's hayloft first but it chilled down pretty sharpish when we put it on the frozen ground; it started to crack & the ink was the consistency of the dark matter you find in treacle mines in some of the grimmer parts of North East Lancashire....  

Undeterred, the extreme steam dream team rolled up their sleeves & covered everything that wasn't hopping around trying to keep warm with a thin layer of the thick black stuff. I stopped to take photos when my roller gave up under the strain. Twenty minutes later, after much huffing & puffing, we were ready & slightly nervous.

We laid the paper down onto the lino, covered it with rubber sheets & said a short prayer to the Gods of rubber & custard confectionery. As I climbed aboard behind Chris, owner of the beast, I paused for a moment, it was finally happening!! Expectations were running rife through my 17 layers of clothing; I looked at the dream team in the White pit, the atmosphere was so thick you could've cut it with an ancient, Lancastrian treacle sword.

He released the brake & cranked the rollers into action. Whoooooooooo....

STEAMROLLER vs LINO #bigsteamprint #arthappens from luckybudgie on Vimeo.


As we pealed the paper from the lino I felt like Liberace. On crystal meth. After a particularly good diamond encrusted gig in Las Vegas. Flippin'eck. It worked. Of course it did! It didn't print as well on the front roller as it did on the back & I said the immortal words, 'oh my god, it isn't heavy enough!" Cue hysterical laughter...

The Artfund film crew disappeared into the sunset & we cleared up.

But the fun wasn't over yet, I got to drive the steamroller & blow the whistle. Total joy. If you ever get a chance to drive a steamroller I urge you to do so, it's the closest you'll get to feeling like a dog that ate an obscene amount of sandwiches early one morning & got away with it, & looking like Eric Morecambe. Way-hey!

So, now we know it works... Let the #arthappens happenings begin! The big project launches on 22nd Jan on the ArtFund website. Get cutting lino people! Operation #bigsteamprint is GO!!!

Photos: djbrass

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