Last month my co-organziers Berel Lutsky, Stephanie Carpenter, and I hosted the fifth Really Big Prints. It was our first time printing at the venerable Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum and, in my opinion, one of the best events we’ve ever had. Over the course of three-and-a-half days we hosted 40 artists (and their teams) and helped them print their large-scale woodblocks. The City of Two Rivers loaned us a streetroller and the capable driving skills and cheerful patience of Mike Timm, who works in Parks & Rec for Two Rivers.
Spirits were high: we had fabulous artists printing with us, very agreeable weather (only a little rain), and a steady supply of drinks and snacks. While a streetroller doesn’t provide the precise even pressure of a calibrated printing press, it does make for a fabulous spectacle. Plus, most of us lack access to a press large enough to print these blocks (32″ x 60″). In the 9+ years we’ve been running RBP, we’ve learned a lot about the technical challenges (and solutions) of printing outdoors, on asphalt, with a large machine.
And the prints this year are fabulous! They’re currently on display at the Rahr-West Art Museum in Manitowoc, WI and will return to Hamilton to be on display October – November. Some of my favorite pieces include Lynn Zetzman’s cobalt-inked print “In My 68th Year” and Becca Jabs’ technically complex and exquisite turtle “Insculpta”. I was also puffed up with pride to see three of my current students and two former students printing. They all made beautiful work. I’m so pleased for them to have this experience: both for the chance to make work at this scale and also for the unique opportunity to plug into a creative community outside of school. Those sorts of opportunities can be hard to come by especially post-college and, in my experience, you don’t know what’s out there until you venture out and see.
We’re looking forward to presenting about Really Big Prints at Hamilton’s annual Wayzgoose in November and to planning how to make the 2025 Really Big Prints even better.