The Big Tuna. No, it’s not a new Subway sandwich, although it is occurring near a Subway store…. The Big Tuna is a giant, portable, woodblock printing press that reels off large-scale versions of area artists’ block prints. This touring hunk of artistic love is making a two-day stop at Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center in Hyattsville on October 9th and 10th.
All are invited to check out this weekend demonstration as the Big Tuna produces paper prints from the woodblocks — essentially giant wooden stamps up to 4 feet by 8 feet. There’ll even be a chance for you to get a feel for how this magic happens with a hands-on community art-making activity! More details in press release, below.
“The Big Tuna” Giant Mobile Printing Press
“You can catch the Big Tuna, a portable print press whose girth inspired its name, in action as it reels off large-scale works by 20 area artists Saturday and Sunday at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville.
BIG INK, a New England-based arts business, is teaming up with Pyramid Atlantic Art Center for a third time.
Each selected artist started work on their extra-large woodblocks in August using traditional Japanese chisels. BIG INK Director Lyell Castonguay has been guiding them through online instruction.
All the work leads up to a two-day public demonstration this weekend as the press produces paper prints from the woodblocks — essentially giant wooden stamps up to 4 feet by 8 feet, Castonguay said.
“Seeing woodblocks printed at this scale is impressive,” Castonguay. “(It’s) like magic. The woodblock is inked, sent through the press, and an image appears on the paper. It’s like watching a rabbit pulled out of a hat.”
(Carol Barsha, pictured above, is a Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellow and one of the featured artists. In this photo, she’s carving with traditional Japanese chisels (and an electric dremel tool) on sustainable sourced Japanese Shina plywood.)
BIG INK in 2016 raised $13,000 to build a traveling printing press, which could be assembled in museums, universities, art centers, galleries and beyond. The company tours the country hosting workshops with the press.
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. There will be a hands-on community art-making activity.
This year is BIG INK’s largest gathering at Pyramid to date, Castonguay said. The slate will feature appearances and works by Paige Hemke Kleinfelder, Gail Shaw-Clemons, Anna Zellhofer, Amanda Gordon Miller, Alexandra Morazan, Jillian Jenkins Roper, Carolee Jakes, Sarah Matthews, Kimberly King, and Mark Wamaling on Saturday. Sunday’s participating artists are Catherine Cole, William Wackwitz Jr., Leamon L Green, Kaisa Nichols-Russell, Judith Peck, Etai Rogers-Fett, Eliza Clifford, Deborah Grayson, Carol Barsha, and Amy Callner.
Admission is free.
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