Perry’s steamroller artists are a woodcut above

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ISU Print Club member Jeff Miller, left, demonstrates the fine art of wood block carving to Perry's steamroller artists.

Jennifer Drinkwater, senior lecturer in the Iowa State University College of Design’s department of integrated studio arts, led about a dozen fledgling steamroller artists from Perry in a hands-on demonstration Saturday of the art of woodcut carving and block printing.

Drinkwater was joined by two members of the ISU Print Club, graduate student Jeff Miller and undergraduate printer Reed Siems, and together the three artists explained the basic ideas and some of the finer points of this most ancient form of printing.

“You make it look so easy,” said steamroller artist Jenny Eklund. Drinkwater said a little time with the tools and materials will make all Perry’s steamroller artists able to produce beautiful works, even the doubters like Eklund.

The steamroller art project is sponsored by the city of Perry and the Iowa State University College of Design. The resulting artworks will be combined into a public art exhibition in Perry.

Drinkwater will return in a few weeks to assist the local printmakers with their projects, and a May event is planned with students from the ISU Print Club hosting a free, public steamroller printing event.

The Perry Public Works Department will roll out their steamroller, which will be used to print fabric from the carved wood blocks.

“This is going to work out great,” said Butch Niebuhr, another steamroller artist. “We do hope to have the Perry High School Art Department take a part in this event,” he said.

It is not too late for interested steamrollers to sign up and participate. Call City Hall for more information: 515-465-2481.

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