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Wednesday 7 October 2015

Roadworks Festival 2015

This past weekend we attended one of San Francisco's quirky events. No, not the Folsom Street Fair - although we did spot many of that festival's attendees in their interesting attire (or lack there of!) on our way home. No, the festival that we attended was the annual Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival hosted by San Francisco Center for the Book. Much more family friendly!

The highlight of the Roadworks Festival is watching linoleum block prints being made with the help of a steam roller. You know, the sort of thing that would've been used to smooth out roads back when coal was the power source de jour for vehicles. We've attended the Roadworks Festival in the past and we've all enjoyed it. Now that we have a "digger" obsessed toddler in our midst attending the festival was a no-brainer. A whole afternoon of watching a ye olde construction vehicle paired with hands on print making and book binding fun. Perfect!

Mathilde fell asleep on our walk to the festival so we took the opportunity for Ava and Lola to try their hand at print making while she snoozed. We started off by carving images into rubber blocks for printing. Both girls drew a picture of themselves and we took it in turns carving. Ava did a pretty good job of carving most of her block but Lola was a little unsure. In fact, I was a little unsure of Lola carving her block given how sharp the tools were. She carved a few straight lines and then left the rest for me to carve. I always forget just how much I enjoy making linoleum or rubber block prints until I start carving. I need to do it more often. Anyway, after the blocks were carved, the girls inked them up with a roller and then used a small table top press to transfer their images onto card. I think they came out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

We then moved onto table top letterpress printing with a pre-made template. The girls printed two color bookmarks.

Mathilde woke up when the girls were finished with these two projects so we moved on to watching the steam roller. Mathilde was pretty excited when she first saw the steam roller and called out "Digger! Digger!" over and over while pointing at it. As soon as it blew its whistle though, she screamed and high tailed it out of there! That whistle is pretty loud and it can be scary if you're not expecting it.

After watching the steam roller in action Mathilde plucked up the courage to go check it out up close. She was a littler nervous at first and made sure to keep an eye on it at all times. You never know when it's going to make that loud noise again!

We then headed inside to make notebooks. We started by printing letterpress covers then moved on to stitching the books together. Ava was keen to do all of the steps herself but Lola needed a little help.

We then headed back outside where the girls stamped stationery, had calligraphy bookmarks made, and, of course, watched the steam roller in action again.

We all had a fun time at the Roadworks Festival. Mathilde even learnt a new word: Roller! After calling the steam roller "digger" for quite some time she suddenly switched to "roller" which is now one of her favorite words.

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