What are the [Baren] Exchanges?
[Baren] runs an active program of print exchanges. Up to thirty printmakers agree to complete an edition of prints and exchange them with each other.
The exchanges are managed by an Exchange Manager (currently Mike Lyon, Dana Wangsgard, and Julio Rodriguez) who can be reached via and a Coordinator for each exchange who is appointed by the Exchange Manager. The Manager oversees each exchange and looks after this web site, the sign-ups, and the galleries. The Coordinator communicates with each participant to encourage that prints and colophon information are delivered on time. The Coordinator receives and collates the prints and mails the completed exchange sets to participants.
Our Exchange program was initiated in late 1998, and has continued at the rate of a new folio being produced about every three months.
How does it work?
Whenever it is time for a new exchange to start up, a sign-up sheet is posted on this website, containing a description of the proposed exchange:
- theme if any
- paper size
- other relevant details and deadlines
Printmakers who wish to participate fill out that sign-up sheet to register their intent to take part.
Earliest exchanges ‘started up’ once the limit of 30 participants had been reached, but we soon began posting each year’s schedule in advance so exchanges could be completed with any number of participants up to our maximum of 30.
Sign-up is open to everyone, subject to our rules.
One of the participants is selected as coordinator, and this person ‘rides herd’ on the group during the progress of the work, and also performs the very important task of doing the physical collation and distribution of the prints. Participants send their finished edition to this person, and once all the prints are received, the coordinator collates them into sets, and returns them to the participants. More information about exchange coordination is here.
Immediately following the completion of each exchange, the complete set of prints is displayed in a new section on this website. (see below for links to previous exchange folios).
Participation in an exchange involves no fees, but of course return postage must accompany the print package when it is sent to the coordinator.
Themes: Printmakers have shown great interest in two options – deciding a theme for the exchange, and not having a theme. In response, a policy of alternating between ‘open’ and ‘themed’ exchanges is ongoing. Odd-numbered exchanges are themed; even-numbered exchanges are open.
Paper size: Many opinions have been expressed about this. Our early exchanges alternated between two historic Japanese print sized, oban and chuban. But printmakers wanted more diversity in paper size, so we scheduled a four-way rotation: Other, Oban, Other & Chuban.
- chu-ban size is about 10 x 7.5 inches (25.5 x 19cm)
- oban size is about 15 x 10 inches (38 x 25.5 cm)
- ‘other’ size
‘Other’ will vary each time, so participants have a chance to make prints in various interesting formats.