MUSEUM staff are working flat-out to ensure a giant steam-powered art project can be rolled out in a few months’ time.

Staff at Ditchling Museum have launched a fundraising campaign to take a 12.5 tonne steamroller on a printing tour across Sussex and beyond to help create giant artworks.

The 1926 machine will be used as a giant printing press in a number of live performances planned through spring and summer.

The project is already steaming ahead with around half of the target already achieved with more than a week to go thanks to more than 130 donors.

Staff at the museum, which celebrates the village’s rich printing heritage including the prodigious output by controversial artist Eric Gill, have said they want to use the project to reveal the process of printing usually hidden away in studios and workshops.

The minimum size of each work will be one metre by one metre with art designs, lino, Japanese printing paper and wooden boards all laid on the floor before the steam roller is driven over.

The project will include designs created by leading printmakers including Angie Lewin, Rob Ryan and Anthony Burrill along with students at local primary schools, colleges and universities.

If successful with their fundraising, it is hoped steam printing performances will be held at Amberley Museum, which houses the steam roller, on March 28, the London Transport Museum Acton on April 23 and 24, at The Level in Brighton as part of the Brighton Festival on May 22 and at Ditchling Village Fair on June 18.

The artworks will then go on display at the Phoenix Gallery in Brighton.

Lucy Jenner, learning and outreach manager at the museum, said: “The steam print idea was first raised to us last summer by artist Pea Crabtree and we just ran with it.

“We wanted it to be a big project and we had to look at how we are going to fund this so we went to the Art Fund who really liked the idea to.

“This kind of printing has been done before, mainly with modern rollers and mainly in the States but its never been done with this many artists, community groups and schools involved before.

“For the artists it will be the biggest artworks they have ever done.

“This whole project is harping back to the old ways of printing by hand.

“Usually this takes place in workshops and studios but we will be taking it out into the open so people can see how it’s done.”

To support the crowdfunding campaign visit