About a year ago I found a fantastic Printmaking Studio in Eustis, Florida- Harper Print Studio, owned and operated by artist Jenny Harper. I was really interested in learning to carve woodcut and linocut blocks and I landed in the perfect place. Through Jenny’s expert guidance and fantastic studio I was immersed in this new (to me) print making process. As my skills got a little better and I had some success, Jenny introduced me to a printmaking project known as Big Ink. The minimum size for the carving is a plate 24″ x 36″. I had never carved anything bigger than a 10″ x 10″ so this was a huge leap for me.
Always up for a challenge……..
I decided to fling myself out of my comfort zone and carve a big wood cut. I worked on Shina which is a wood panel I purchased from McClain’s Printmaking supplies. The quality of this panel is superior. I have found it is more difficult to work with lesser grade supplies, so I purchased the best!
Deciding on a theme…..
This was a tough one for me. I struggled with what I should do on such a big print. I made several different choices and …..anxiety set in. How would I ever do this project.???? I had 3 months to carve it but I was in a panic I would not be able to pull it off. I finally realized I had to take the leap………….so I crawled back to a comfort zone and decide to do….
Bugs have always been my favorite thing to draw and paint. I figured if I had to be out of my comfort zone, I could at least carve something I was fond of as well as familiar with……Bugs! Once my decision was made I immediately went to work on choosing which insects I would include, the sizes, the composition etc.
I spent probably 1-3 hours a day carving for about 3 months. I did not carve every day, but I tried to do it as often as I could. I needed to get the plate carved and ready. I did a proof before the big day just to get an idea of what it might look like printed. After the proof, I did some additional carving and then holding my breath I was ready to go!
The BIG DAY for BIG INK with the BIG TUNA!
A group of printmakers, including my friend Jenny Harper and I traveled to New Smyrna Beach to the Atlantic Center for the Arts to print our woodcuts. We spent the day with Lyell Castonguay, Founder of BIG INK. He has an enormous press that he travels around the USA to print these BIG INK PRINTS. The name of the press is called “THE BIG TUNA”. Here is a little video of my print being the first print of the day pulled from the The Big Tuna. Lyell did an excellent job of teaching us and we all did amazing prints that day. He will doing more in 2024 and I highly recommend it as an exhilarating experience. I pulled 3 prints that day.
If you are interested in purchasing this print, there are only 3 currently available. Email me for pricing and framing options.