OVERVIEW

Lyell Castonguay and Carand Burnet founded BIG INK in 2012. Castonguay, whose personal woodblocks are often monumental, wanted to encourage other printmakers to expand their sense of scale. Recognizing most artists don't have the technical expertise required for such work, Castonguay began to teach the woodblock carving process. By hosting informal "print parties," word spread and more artists wanted to learn the craft. Castonguay and Burnet established BIG INK to accommodate the growing interest.

THE BIG TUNA

Gaining access to oversize printing equipment is an obstacle for anyone wanting to produce a large-scale woodblock print. We raised $13,000 through public support to commission The Big Tuna. The Big Tuna is the only oversize printing press designed for routine travel. It has made a lasting impression when assembled in a museum, university, or charter school. The Big Tuna is a supersized version of the same equipment found in a traditional printmaking studio. It features pressure dials for finely tuned printing. Its non-motorized equipment eliminates safety concerns. Given its modular construction, The Big Tuna can be transported virtually anywhere.

Lyell Castonguay

Castonguay acts as instructor, event coordinator, and web administrator. Originally from Maine, he earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Manchester, NH. While in school he focused on combining his interests in storytelling, illustration, and printmaking. Some of his favorite printmakers include Antonio Frasconi, Leonard Baskin, and Gustave Doré.
Castonguay's interest in avian subjects began when he was gifted two juvenile society finches. Being fascinated with the hidden lives of animals and birds, an avid consumer of natural history literature and films, Castonguay found himself the ethologist. He recognized their distinct personalities and observed them communicating with one another and huddle together at night. Aviculture remains a part of the artists home life, and birds the main protagonists in his work.
Castonguay is represented by Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts, Brattleboro, VT, Brumfield Gallery, Astoria, OR, and his work is included in international collections. Castonguay has over a decade's worth of experience working with fellow artists, guiding them through the creative process, and printing their work.

Carand Burnet

Burnet acts as social media coordinator and event facilitator. Originally from South Carolina, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Manchester, NH. She discovered writing as a student and honed her skills by reviewing exhibitions for periodicals including Art New England Magazine, Art in Print, Printmaking Today, and Printeresting.org.
Burnet also has a passion for music. She's played the electric guitar since childhood and to this day feels most at home composing instrumental tracks and jamming with friends. Some of her current musical influences include Khruangbin, Wand, and Dungen. Her band Kioea plays at venues along the New Hampshire and Maine seacoast each summer.
Most recently, Burnet has taken an interest in sewing. She's donated hundreds of masks to friends, family, and artists in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Burnet has been collaborating with Castonguay to produce woodblock printed fabric which she then transforms into garments. See her wearable art under the Merchandise category in our online store.

"BIG INK gave me the knowledge and confidence to create my first woodblock print. The program is extraordinarily well organized and supportive — and it is an absolute pleasure to work with a master printmaker."

Erica Holthausen
Artist