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Steamy street fun

Wayzgoose small press event promises plates full of excitement, sweet pea,

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It’s not everyday you see steamroller printing happening in the streets. However, that’s the main attraction at this year’s Wayzgoose, an annual event at King’s Books in celebration of Small Press Month.

Six local artists will be inking 3-foot by 3-foot plywood or linoleum plates they personally designed and running them through a construction-size steamroller set up in front of the bookstore on St. Helens Avenue in Tacoma. Such a lavish spectacle doesn’t come cheap, and Wayzgoose organizers are able to bring it to the Tacoma masses thanks to a grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission. King’s Books public relations guru sweet pea is thrilled to bring something different and exciting to T-Town. “No one knows about streamroller printing,” he says, as it’s done in places outside the Pacific Northwest such as San Francisco and Brooklyn. “It will really be a spectacle.”

Local artist Chris Sharp, who works in letterpress, painting, graphic design, installation and vintage sign painting, will attempt steamroller printing for the first time at the event March 2. Sharp is designing a woodblock print using a new process he developed. Even though he’s never done steamroller printing, he has a lot of experience with other kinds of printing and is looking forward to the event. “It’s always cool and always fun to see the other printers and see what people have been working on,” Sharp says.

Students from Stadium High School will also partake in the steamroller-printing fun. Some of the steamroller prints will be raffled off during Wayzgoose.

The event started four years ago as a collaboration between sweet pea and Jessica Spring, a professor at Pacific Lutheran University. They both had a desire to recognize Small Press Month and local printers. Wayzgoose is the name of printer festivals that happen around the nation where individuals come together to swap printer equipment, sweet pea explained. He admits it’s a “peculiar word.”

Unlike most artistic events, Wayzgoose doesn’t charge individual artists a table fee. In exchange, organizers require artists to provide a hands-on activity for attendees. “Everyone does something different,” sweet pea says, including paper folding, binding or making hand-pressed prints. “People can see the craft, learn more about it and make a keepsake to take home with them.”

[King’s Books, Sunday, March 2, noon to 4 p.m., 218 St. Helens Ave., Stadium District Tacoma, 253.272.8801]

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