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.

Niagara, Canadian Side

Looking down from the top of the horseshoe falls on the Canadian side, that turquoise water that forms on the edge is stunningly beautiful. From this angle the power and the force of this water is unmistakeable. I do believe the view from Canada is the best – you can view the American falls from directly across and walk from there to the Canadian horseshoe falls.

American Falls, Niagara


The night before traveling to Niagara was not a good one. My husband holds a green card and he was worried about crossing the border. He had dreams of border checks and helicopters flying overhead. We argued and he barely slept. With the current American political climate I don’t blame him. Nightmare accounts of separated families and body searches are all over the news. I grew up thinking the U.S. and Canada were practically the same country -how did we get to the point where we we’re nervous crossing a bridge into Canada? Is it possible to turn around and go back if you cross the bridge by mistake?

Once we crossed the border we no longer worried about getting back into the U.S. The Canadian side is built up, with noisy restaurants, haunted houses, wax museums, go carts and Ferris wheels. We walked through a Hard Rock Cafe and Rainforest Cafe arcade to find a bar with free beer samplers. I don’t even go to those places in Chicago. Afterwards we found an Indian restaurant that was quiet and the food was good. Then as we walked along the falls, we realized how nice the view from this side is. There were lots of people, but the strip of walkway lined with gardens was so big, it never felt very crowded. We walked for hours, then we retired to our room at the Sheraton, where we had a perfect view of the falls and watched the fireworks. 

Old power station with lights for the falls


Early the next morning we left for Chicago, driving on the Canadian side to Detroit. It was smooth sailing the whole way – much better than driving through Ohio. And though the border guards are far from cheerful, we didn’t have any problems. Oh and we had to pay five bucks to get back in. What a rip off!