The Big Humpback on the Big Tuna

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Mysticeti, prior to final tweaks and inking.

On Saturday, September 14th, I spent the day in Nashville, printing with Big Ink at Hatch Show Print. Lyell Castonguay and Carand Burnet from BIG INK showed up with their expertise and the ‘Big Tuna’ press to help seven artists print oversized wood blocks. Lyell inked all the blocks and ran the press, while we cleaned the blocks, loaded the paper and helped lift and hang the print. We definitely needed many hands to complete this project. Thank you to BIG INK, Hatch Show Print and all the participating artists, including Jen Wright, Duncan McDaniel, Jennifer Garrison, Lauren Medford, Randy Stewart, Juan Rojo and Catherine Maldonado! Also thank you to Daniel Lonow the Haley Gallery manager for hosting, and for giving my family a tour of Hatch and the hidden parts of the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was so great to meet everyone and spend a day making beautiful prints!

Photos from the event were taken by my lovely husband, Venkatesh Gopal.
Lyell Castonguay from Big Ink, inking the blocks.
Lining up the inked blocks on the ‘Big Tuna’ printing press.
Lyell getting ready to print.
Signing the first print.
I caught a big one at the Haley Gallery at Hatch Show Print.

Mysticeti Wood Block

Since returning home from the beautiful MacFarlane Studio in Friday Harbor, I have been working in the home studio carving text. I am pacing myself to keep my hand from getting hurt, but now I’m heading for the home stretch. The first block is done (except for some tweaking) and the second block is nearly finished. I spent many hours carving over the weekend and I try to carve at least one word per night. I hope to be done next weekend!


I also have an artist book in the Boston Printmakers Biennial at Wellesley College. It’s in the same building where I took piano lessons when I was in grade school! I have so many memories of Wellesley College, my sister’s wedding, fishing in Paint Shop Pond, and swimming in Lake Waban. How strange it will be to go there again after many years!  I had a lot of fun stitching in this artist book, Integumentary. Please come by on the 8th if you’re nearby!

Big Ink project

I’m at the Whiteley Center for almost two weeks working on a huge block for the Big Ink Project at Hatch Show Print in September. I’m very excited about participating, and I’m working hard to get the block done in time. It’s been a while since I carved anything this big and although I knew what I was getting myself into, I’m realizing that this is going to take a lot of work and dedication! Back and neck ache? Sore wrist? Scraped knuckles? Yup, Advil may be needed.

Day 1

Day 2


Day 3

Writing backwards

A Room of One’s Own

Having a room to yourself can not be underestimated. I have been given this beautiful studio at the Whiteley Center for two weeks, and the thought that I have complete freedom to do what I want with it is so freeing. I settled in on Sunday, sweeping and arranging furniture to my liking. On Monday my wood blocks arrived on schedule and I’m ready to start drawing my whale for the Big Ink event. Big Ink is traveling to Hatch Show Print in Nashville for the weekend of September 14th and 15th and my work has been accepted for printing. Needless to say I have my work cut out for me! Pun intended ;-).

I have to include a ‘before’ shot of the blocks, 40″ X 90″.

 

Yesterday was my birthday and I also went for a long walk in the woods with Ashwin. University of Washington has the only old growth forest on San Juan Island. The woods are deep and varied, moving from open meadow-like areas to deep dark forest bordered by the Salish Sea. Any path taken on the right side of the trail ends up on the shore. Along the way I stepped off the path into the woods once, to take a photo at the base of a large tree. I heard an odd sound and when I looked to my left, there was an owl about 15 feet from me on a low branch. He flew up to a higher branch and we continued to look at each other for a long time. Ashwin was wearing a yellow kurta and the owl seemed particularly interested in him. I believe he is a Barred Owl.



What a lovely day, I can’t think of a better place to celebrate my birthday.

Mysticeti

Smooth cool water,

I glide, hold my breath,

Call to the others.

My voice is strong,

Resonant and clear,

She hears me.

We find each other,

Through miles of deep and dark,

Vast watery quiet.

I open my jaws,

Let the water flow in,

And expel it through baleen.

Rising to the surface,

I blow my captured breath,

And leap with joy.

We have dominion under the sea.

Shadow giants pass overhead,

A cacophony of sound,

I can’t hear the others.

I sing my song,

And get no response,

No one hears me.

I scoop up the rich ocean,

Obstructions catch in my throat,

I swallow, accumulate.

I’m curious, get too close,

Feel a jagged pain,

My blood mixes with the sea.

A Great Experience

I was nervous about opening my home/studio to the public last weekend, but I have to say, whenever I put myself out into the world, the experience turns out to be a good one. Again, this was the case. Thank you to everyone who made the effort to visit. I had many great conversations, new visitors, and ones I hadn’t seen in a long time. I even sold a few pieces of art. All in all a great experience that I plan to do every year!
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Evanston Made Open Studio, June 1st 

I’ll be participating in the Evanston Open Studios on June 1st from 12 to 5. Please visit http://www.evanstonmade.org  for an interactive map of all the studio locations. I’ll have artist books, drawings, and ceramics for sale. Please come by to see what I do, chat, and make a small plankton print to take home. 

This piece will be at the Evanston Art Center in June – opening reception Friday, May 31st.