Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival :: General Info


(above: Roots of Motive Power's 7-ton Buffalo Springfield steamroller)

About the Festival:

The San Francisco Center for the Book's annual Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival is an all-day public printmaking and book arts extravaganza that includes free hands-on printmaking and book arts activities, demonstrations, vendors, open house, and more.

(above: getting ready to pull the first print of the day)

About Steamroller Printing:

With roots going back hundreds of years, relief printing -- a process where a protruding surface is inked and brought into contact with paper - is one of the oldest methods of printing illustrations in books.

Each year at the Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival we celebrate this facet of book arts history in the biggest, most spectacular way we can think of: by printing linocuts using a 7-ton 1924 Buffalo Springfield steamroller  -- provided by our friends Roots of Motive Power -- and the road surface of Rhode Island Street as an enormous makeshift printing press! A team of featured artists, printers and steamroller operators create large-scale Classic print and smaller-scale Personal prints (details below) during the Festival.

Classic Prints and Personal Prints are literally "print-on-demand"; they are available only during the daylong event and are limited edition. Each print purchased during SFCB's Roadworks event helps raise funds that directly benefit San Francisco Center for the Book, our workshops, exhibitions, and our free public events (like Roadworks!)

The Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival has become a popular tradition in the Do.Re.Mi (Dogpatch-Potrero-Hill-Mission) Arts District of San Francisco, attracting printmaking, artist book, printing, and general art enthusiasts of all ages.

Online blogs This Is Colossal and Gizmodo have both written about our annual Roadworks event -- take a look!

(above: volunteers on the "clean hands" team show artist Rik Olson's Classic Print to the crowd)

Roadworks Classic Print artists:

Each year 3-5 artists are invited by SFCB’s Imprint Committee to participate as Classic Print artists. Upon acceptance of their proposed design, these artists are provided with a 3' x 3' piece of "Battleship Linoleum" and start the process of carving a linocut to be printed (by steamroller!) at the Festival.  Roadworks Classic Prints are only available for sale on the day of the event and are “print on demand”: attendees place an order in person or online during the event and then their order is queued up.

SFCB Classic Print artists are invited from the Bay Area's diverse artistic community; if you are a printmaker or artist interested in being considered by SFCB’s Imprint Committee, please email

(above: Personal Prints in the "Fresh Print" gallery; attendees place their order and each order is placed in a queue to be steamroller printed.)

Roadworks Personal Print artists:

This exciting program allows 40+ people the opportunity to design and carve a Personal Print (size: 9" x 12”) piece of linoleum and have it printed using a 7-ton 1924 Buffalo Springfield steamroller on the day of the event. As with Classic Prints, Roadworks Personal Prints are only available for sale on the day of the event and are “print on demand”: attendees place an order in person or online during the event and then their order is queued up.

(above: Roadworks volunteers helping out at SFCB's retail table)


This is our biggest event of the year and we're always on the lookout for enthusiastic people to help out with this all-day event! There are many ways to help out in the days leading up to the event (folding programs, putting together vendor packets) as well as the day of the event itself (helping with set up/break down, answering questions at SFCB’s info table, announcing prints as they become available). If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities, send an email to or fill out the Volunteer Survey.