Lyell Castonguay is based in Easthampton, MA. He is the director of BIG INK, a collaborative project that encourages the practice and understanding of large woodcut. Castonguay’s personal work is often monumental and this project challenges other artists to expand their sense of scale. BIG INK revolves around a variety of programming including workshops and community printing events. Castonguay is the recipient of three previous Massachusetts Cultural Council grants. Influences include Antonio Frasconi, Leonard Baskin, Bruce Waldman, and Christopher Hartshorne, among others. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including France, Ireland, and Wales.
Woodcut is a decision making process. Once a mark is carved into the plywood’s surface, it cannot be undone. Using simple chisels and plywood, I guide students through avenues for achieving depth of space. Ranging from expressive lines to carefully carved stippling, students explore techniques and discover his or her preferred marks to delineate specific textures, rounded forms, and contrast.
My expertise includes reduction, multi-block, and large scale printing. I teach traditional printing methods, such as using a press, and I also demonstrate alternative, hand printing techniques. Contemplating each mark and how it translates when printed helps construct successful images. Students are encouraged to embrace this process. It is a method that translates well into other artistic mediums and resonates far past the date of instruction.