Call for Printmakers: BIG INK @BMAC

Deadline: May 17, 2019

BIG INK, a nationally recognized print arts organization, is traveling to Brattleboro Museum & Art Center on July 20, 2019. BMAC has invited BIG INK to host a one day event where prints will be pulled from large-scale woodblock plates carved ahead of time by local artists. We are seeking emerging, mid-career, and established visual artists who would like to carve a woodblock to print at the event. No prior printmaking experience is required. Any artist that has an interest in print media and wants to achieve a deeper understanding of woodblock carving is welcome to participate.

Artists will have a minimum of two months prior to the event to carve their design into a piece of plywood. BIG INK has assembled invaluable technical observations, made by both BIG INK‘s directors and the artists they’ve worked with in the past, into how-to videos that guide participants through the carving process. The artists’ sole responsibility will be to bring a fully carved and ready to print woodblock on the day of the event. All consumable materials including paper, ink, cleaning supplies and equipment usage are included with participation.

The event itself will be an excellent way to network with other participants, plug into our growing creative community, and produce high-quality work that can be used later for sale and exhibition purposes.

About BIG INK:

BIG INK‘s mission is to inspire a greater public appreciation for large-scale woodblock printmaking and extend its practice. Founded in 2012, BIG INK was originally the brainchild of Lyell Castonguay and Carand Burnet. Castonguay, whose personal woodblock work is often monumental in scale, was seeking to organize a community of large-scale woodblock artists. Castonguay and Burnet began to host a series of informal get togethers at print studios around their local area. These happenings eventually evolved into the collaborative working model BIG INK utilizes today. BIG INK works by establishing a temporary print shop on site at affiliate organizations, most often at museums, universities, art centers, studios, and galleries. Artists are selected, either by personal invitation or through a call-for-entry process, to attend these events and print original woodblocks. Since the program’s inception, hundreds of artists have participated in BIG INK events across the country.

Participant Benefits:

BIG INK events are a constructive way to collaborate in a creatively inspiring space while gaining an in-depth knowledge of how to create a large-scale woodblock print. The program is designed for printmakers who understand basic woodblock principles but want to expand their expertise and working scale. The program is also designed for those not yet trained in woodblock but whose visual aesthetic would lend itself to the medium. This includes illustrators, sculptors, designers, and painters who use bold contrast, strong outlines, and patterning. Participating in an event often inspires artists to incorporate more print work in their studio practice.

BIG INK‘s role is to make the production of a large-scale woodblock accessible and easy to understand. We hope to make the experience rewarding and informative by imparting our knowledge of preferred materials and techniques. We do so through a woodblock tutorial series comprised of over 20 videos. Step-by-step instructions guide BIG INK participants with preferred materials and methods including plywood types, image transferring, carving, creating textures, fixing mistakes, tool maintenance, incorporating power tools, and more. BIG INK also remains in contact providing guidance and technical support when needed to participants.

How Many Prints Are Produced?

BIG INK assists in the creation of two impressions from each participant’s woodblock. Although BIG INK events typically happen in a community setting we pride ourselves on producing high-quality impressions. Work is printed using oil-based inks on archival paper and the quality is comparable to what you would receive working with a master printer at a private studio.

What material should I use to carve my woodblock? 

BMAC will provide participants with wood to carve for the event. (Carving tools are not provided).

How big can I work?

The wood that BMAC will provide is 24″ x 48″ inches in dimension.

Other Commonly Asked Questions:

Q: Can two artists collaborate on a proposal? A: Yes

Q: Are we expected to attend the printing day?  A: Yes

Q: How many prints does each artist produce? A: Three

Q: Can I bring my own paper and print more? A: Because we work with many artists at one time we standardize for time’s sake. Therefore there isn’t enough time to print more than three impressions of your woodblock at the event.

Q: What type of paper do we use?  A: Masa

Q: What type of ink do we use?  A: Oil-based relief ink, bring an apron and wear work clothes.

Q: Do I have to bring any other materials besides my carved block?  A: No

Q: Can we print in color? A: Because we work with many artists at one time we standardize for time’s sake. Therefore there isn’t enough time and space for color printing.

Q: How do we transport the finished prints?  A: BIG INK provides newsprint to wrap the work.

Q: Can I create an edition of prints in my own time from the same woodblock after the event?  A: Yes

Q: Can BIG INK create an edition of prints for me after the event?  A: Yes, for a fee.


$300, includes wood and printing materials ($275 for BMAC members)
Register online or call 802-257-0124 x101

Artist Testimonials:

“Being a professional sculptor, carving a woodcut was something that appealed to my sensibilities but was also something I’d never done.  BIG INK‘s step by step videos was helpful in guiding me through the process. BIG INK answered my technical questions quickly and gave me feedback on my image when I emailed photos.  I’m now taking what I learned as a BIG INK participant and integrating it back into my 3-D work.”

Kerry O. Furlani

BIG INK encouraged all the participants to work together to execute their prints. The event inspired me to continue exploring scale and surface in my practice and opened up a new channel of communication with a great group of artists.”

Enrique Figueredo

Register online or call 802-257-0124 x101.


Contact Linda Whelihan, Education Curator at or 802-257-0124 x109.