The 10th Annual Roadworks: Steamroller Printing Festival wil be held on Sunday, September 29, 2013, 11:00am-4:00pm on Rhode Island Street in Potrero Hill between 16th and 17th Streets.

The San Francisco Center for the Book’s annual Roadworks Street Fair is a day-long public printmaking showcase presented amid a selection of local food and fine craft vendors. Using a three-ton construction steamroller and an unlikely letterpress bed - Rhode Island Street - a team of artists and printers print large-scale prints from three-foot-square hand-carved linoleum blocks. Now in its 9th year, Roadworks has become a casual, popular tradition in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, drawing printmaking and book art enthusiasts as well as locals and families. Events for children will be scheduled all day. Free tours of the Austin/Burch Gallery, plus free letterpress, bookbinding, and other mini-workshops will be offered at SFCB during the festival.
The 3'-0" x 3'-0" steamroller prints will be for sale at SFCB during the event in a limited edition of three prints of each artists lino cut. The steamroller prints are highly limited editions, so if you are interested in the work of a specific featured artist, contact us at to reserve your print in advance. There will be an online preview available the day before the event where you can buy your print online even if you can't make it to Roadworks.
2013 Featured Artists whose work will be printed by Steamroller: Rik Olson | Kit Hinrichs | Patricia Curtan | Mike Kimball | Anna Branning of Dutch Door Press | Rich Fowler of Boarding All Rows | Eric Rewitzer of Three Fish Studios | James Tucker of the Aesthetic Union | C.K.Itamura of Peach Farm Studio
2013 Event Sponsors (to date)
If you are interested in being an event sponsor, please contact Jeff Thomas ( or download a Roadworks Sponsorship package here: Roadworks Sponsor Package
Thank you to our Media Sponsors
Preliminary List of Artist Vendors: Juliayn Coleman | Rik Olson | Jamila Rufaro | James Tucker of Aesthetic Union and Risa Culbertson of Papa Lama | Melissa West | Stephanie Martin | Eric Rewitzer of Three Fish Studios | Anna Branning of Dutch Door Press | Mike Kimball | Leah Jachimowicz of Coffee and Cream Press | Rich Fowler of Boarding All Rows
Roadworks is currently accepting vendor applications for artists, printmakers, bookbinders and other makers. Click here for a vendor application in PDF format.
If you would liek to be a Roadworks Sponsor, click here to view the Roadworks Sponsor Package.
Roadworks in the News
Journalists, press and other media: Download the Roadworks press release here.
Want to know more about what exactly steamroller printing is? Check out this video from Roadworks 2008:

Let the good times roll!


History of the San Francisco Center for the Book Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival

In 2004, the idea of a Steamroller Printing Festival was first presented to the San Francisco Center for the Book by co-founder Mary Austin, who had heard of a similar event in New England. Board Member Nancy Coopersmith enthusiastically took on researching and developing the project for SFCB, and on Saturday, October 30, 2004, Roadworks was born. Over 500 people attended the inaugural event, held in the middle of Carolina Street between 15th and 16th Streets. The Center devoted four tables to printing “side shows,” including SFCB’s home team of Austin and Burch as the Original Printed Ladies of San Francisco, handing out typographic tattoos and the occasional kiss. Each steamroller print pulled off the street was accompanied by musical fanfare by the (clothed and costumed) Burning Band from Burning Man.

The idea behind the festival was to bring the community closer to the printing process by allowing all ages to witness, enjoy and participate in the power of printing on a grand scale. Despite the wind tunnel effect on Carolina Street that threatened to make each print take flight, the event stuck. Past board member Thacher Hurd even said it was the best day of his life!

Each artist printed three copies of their print: one for their sponsor, one for the auction later that same night, and one to keep. Some of the work from the first year created lasting impressions: Mike Bartalos’s 29 Degrees North, designed as a book in three panels, later became SFCB’s first Imprint Edition
artist book.

The second year, the event was moved to September with its more predictable weather and the printer pool grew to fifteen artists. Katherine Case, the Center’s Studio Manager, was featured in Bill Russell’s illustrated column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Roadworks 2005 featured a blind embossed “print” as well as the first multi-color print.

By 2007, Roadworks moved closer to home on De Haro Street. For the San Francisco Center for the Book’s tenth anniversary in 2007, artists were asked to incorporate the number ten into their imagery. Midway through the event, disaster hit when the key to the steamroller broke off in the ignition. Until a new steamroller was brought in a few hours later, necessity was indeed the mother of invention with a (much lighter weight) Prius substituting for the steamroller, and the printing process, augmented by hand-burnishers using metal spoons borrowed from Sally’s Restaurant at nearby 300 De Haro Street. Several weeks later, at the fundraising auction and gala dinner, Rik Olson’s steamroller print raised over $2000!

In 2009, Roadworks whittled down the roster of participating artists and moved to pleasant and nearly windless Rhode Island Street – where the San Francisco Center for the Book is now located (as of 2013) – there the event really took wings, attracting over 5,000 attendees.

Roadworks has a way of cementing friendships and forging new acquaintances. In addition to artists involved, more than sixty book arts vendors have plied their wares to thousands of attendees. Although other communities host steamroller printing events, the San Francisco Center for the Book is the only organization that pulls off making gallery-quality steamroller prints. This is due to the superb artists who participate coupled with the expertise of the SFCB Staff. Master printmaker Brad Robinson and longtime SFCB board member J. Curtiss Taylor have both hit the streets with us every year, along with fifty print production volunteers (divided into clean-hands and inky-hands). A special thanks goes to Cindy Shamban of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for awarding our permit and re-routing the MUNI buses for us every year.

To date, over sixty different images have been printed by steamrollers in the Potrero Hill streets surrounding San Francisco Center for the Book. Press on!

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