Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Merry Christmas to you and your kina

My kina Christmas tree that inspired my prints

One of my most precious treasures is my kina Christmas tree that I made many years ago using a selection of kina shells and a tiny dried starfish found while beach combing. It sits atop a piece of driftwood and is accompanied by some dried pohutukawa flowers and a piece of paua.

As Christmas approaches, and with my new press ready and willing, I was inspired to create a simple little drypoint that I could give as gifts and to add to my stock of prints for sale.

I used plexi-plate, cut to the arched shape, and printed it using oil-based Flint inks onto 300g hahnemuhler paper. Initially I just printed them with one colour and a cleanly wiped plate. 

I then experimented with a simple colour roll-up over the inked up plate, wiping highlights clean with a cotton bud.

 Each and every print is different due to slightly different inking and wiping. I didn't want to produce an edition of identical prints, I wanted them all to be special in their own way. This allowed me to experiment and "play" with inking and wiping techniques.

Some of the prints were left as is, straight from the press and some were handcoloured with watercolours and metallic inks.

I can't decide which version of the print I prefer the most. It's always hard to part with work when you have fallen in love with it. 
I hope it means that the recipients will love them too.

Merry Christmas 
and best wishes
for 2014!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Lubi Lids ~ Hats for Kids

As I'm contemplating new directions for my art for the coming year I thought I'd take a trip back down memory lane and create a record of something I used to get up to to fund the ever increasing kindy fees.

Being a home-sewer, through necessity as a poor student and later as a skint parent, I was always making things for my kids including their fleece beanies with appliquéd stars. I would get so many comments from people such as "You should so sell those! I'd buy one!" So, when the kindy fees went up another notch, biting into our ever-stretched household income, I decided I'd see how serious people were about their compliments. 

I didn't tell hubby what I was up to when I was found sitting on the lounge floor amongst a pile of fleece scraps. He was used to me always making stuff anyway and I thought if I told him he might pour cold-water on my hair-brained scheme. I had enough scraps to start by making an assortment of 40 beanies of various designs, colours and sizes. I figured that I didn't need to spend any money initially because I had heaps of scraps of fleece and a whole assortment of felt scraps squirrelled away from various craft projects. If people showed an interest and actually bought my beanies, then I'd buy fabric as required however, because a beanie takes such a small amount of fabric it wasn't going to need to be a big outlay. The biggest cost would be in time. And actually, having to sit still in the evenings to hand-stitch the appliquéd designs was a good way to get me to slow down a little. It's a very therapeutic past-time, as I'm sure lots of other crafty people will agree.

Initially I would take my carrier bag of hats along to coffee groups. Sales were promising and comments were always very encouraging so I thought I'd step up the action and booked a stall at the Titirangi Market for a once-a -month spot. It took a bit of effort but the whole family got involved on the day and again there was little needed outlay. I'd been given a folding pergola, we made a folding table by cutting an old door in half and hingeing it, and for windy days, we had a collection of milk bottles that we filled with water to stop the pergola blowing away.

Sales went well, earning me enough to pay for more than a few kindy sessions and a bit more besides. Over time I had repeat customers and my range grew to include adult sizes too. It was so satisfying to have such delighted, and delightful, customers. The beanie with the skull and cross bones was particularly popular with men! It was fun coming up with ideas for new designs. I also branched out a little and made a small collection of dress up hoods, some pixie hats (or Robin Hood hats depending on your point of view) and soft brimmed hats for those of us who look a little too bleak in a beanie.

Lubi-Lids kept me busy for a good couple of years and it was so much fun meeting other creative and entrepreneurial people at the markets. As my kids got older, my focus changed to new pursuits and I guess, as cheap imports were becoming more available, it was hard to keep prices competitive and to not rip myself off in the process. This was well before the internet and on-line market places were mainstream such as It was also prior to the current "Hand made" renaissance and comments like "I could get a hat at the Warehouse for cheaper than that" were quite laughable. (I priced my hats initially at $8 then rose to $12 for the simple beanies. The more complicated designs such as the Pukeko, the Gecko and the Frog with the spiraling tongue were a little more, to reflect the extra time involved but still my profits were
marginal.) I realised I needed to make a decision whether it was time to either rev up the production or to move on to other things when I was approached by a Kiwi who was visiting from the UK. She was sourcing NZ stock for a market in London and wanted to place an order of 20 hats, ready for delivery within the week, and could I give her a wholesale price?!

Yeah, nah, actually, nice compliment, sort of, but it was time to move on.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

IMPressive IV - Selected Annual Print Exhibition, Nathan Homestead, Manurewa, South Auckland.

It was great to hear I had had three pieces of my printmaking work selected for the IMPressive IV Print Exhibition at Nathan Homestead. It runs from October 24th until November 17th, 2013.

The theme of this year's exhibition is Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, The Great Ocean of Kiwa (Kiwa is the ancestor and divine guardian of the far reaching ocean known universally as the Pacific.) A range of print practices are presented by a variety of artists' works that celebrate Aotearoa / New Zealand's affinity with the sea.

I gratefully acknowledge Nathan Homestead for providing the opportunity to exhibit alongside other more experienced printmakers and for the professional presentation of the exhibition. It was a treat to see my work so nicely presented.

My three works hanging in their own wee space.

"Ebb and Flow"
Woodblock on Voile

"Rockpool - Biding Time" - Drypoint
"Reveal" - Gelatine Monoprint

Wall label of works 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

IPE- International Print Exchange - Green Door Printmaking Studio

My edition of 10 prints ready to send to the UK. Drypoint on shaped plate.
I wanted to create a small piece of NZ to send out into the world
hence the Pohutukawa flower/ leaf. 

As a result of a link that printmaker Aine Scannell shared on G+ I set myself the challenge of taking part in Green Door Printmaking Studio's International Print Exchange this year. It was a challenge for me because I am relatively new to printmaking, I had never completed a full edition of prints and, as there were some fairly strict requirements, I felt it would be a good exercise to jump start my printmaking practice. 

(Well, it worked! I've just had my first group print exhibition, have another print in a national NZ printmaking exhibition and next year is filling up with exhibition bookings.)

The prints were due to arrive in the UK by the end of August and we received our exchanged prints just a couple of weeks later, beautifully packaged and presented. 

The package arrived beautifully presented: screen printed box,  sealed with a sticker,
inside: a little badge, a personalised booklet (containing info about our exchanged
prints and where our prints went, a list of all the artist who took part
and information about which print processes were used), and the prints were
in a printed envelope, wrapped in acid free tissue (provided by each artist.)
A record of the prints I received. Prints came from Taiwan, UK and USA.

Clock-wise from top left: "Urban Landscape" by Hyun-Jin Kim, Taiwan;
"Fungi" by Chrissy Stangroom, UK; "Jordan" by Nancy Power, UK; "Happy Tails" by Benjamin Gross, USA.

Clock-wise from top left: "Elephants Dream" by Harriet Brigdale, UK;
"Mr Goose & his friends" by Kirsty Taylor, UK;
"Complicated Shadows" by Diane Sandall, USA;
"Dream Ride" by Eleonora Amici, UK.
These are the artists who received my prints, in the UK, USA and Australia.

Although it cost a bit to put it all together and post from the opposite side of the world, receiving the beautiful prints and seeing my print on-line in the exhibition (on the other side of the world), it was so worth it.

The print exhibition. (That's my print, second from the right on the bottom row.)

Thank you Green Door Studio!!

Exhibition Poster

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Group Exhibition - Waitakere Printers Ink in The Barrel Store

The Barrel Store
Eight printmakers from the community arts group WaitakerePrinters Ink exhibited their artworks at the refurbished Barrel Store at Corbans Estate Arts Centre last weekend. 

Based at Corbans Estate in Henderson, Waitakere Printers Ink was set up in 2010 by artist Ruby Oakley with funding from Creative Communities.  After participating in two summer schools at the Arts Centre she recognised there was a need for somewhere for keen printmakers to meet and to have access to a quality printmaking press, a specialist piece of equipment few artists can afford.

Membership comprises of a diverse mix of like-minded people from all over Auckland. On average six to eight members gather each month to use the facilities in a supportive environment of shared interest.

This year’s exhibition showcased the work of Alicia Poultney, Diane Charraz, Lorraine Vickery, Lynn Bryant, Ruby Oakley, ToniHartill Tracy Singer and Val Cuthbert. A wide variety of printmaking techniques was on display including, but not limited to, drypoint, etching, lino cut, wood block, chine colle, collograph, solarplate, screenpint, lithography and monoprint techniques.

A key goal of the group is to promote printmaking as an art form. Each of the artists have their own unique perspective yet they all share the excitement that printmaking provides. Although hard work it was an entirely fun experience and a great chance to get to know each other better. As a result of how well the event ran, we are already making bookings for several exhibitions next year!

The exhibition opened on Thursday 3rd October, and was open daily until Sunday 6th October.

Visit the Waitakere Printers Ink Facebook page to stay in touch with further events and to view more of their work.

The blank canvas at 9am on set-up day

One difficulty with the venue is the lack of lighting
but we solved this with borrowed spots.

A slideshow of more of our work, and of our print group
in action, ran throughout the exhibition.

 "Between the Tides" series - THartill gelatine monoprints

Rockpools - "Softly Sleeping" and "Biding Time"
- THartill drypoints

 "In and out of the Garden"
-  THartill gelatine monoprints

 "Beneath the Tides" series - THartill drypoint, chine colle,
collage, hand colouring, mixed media.

"Remains",  "Residue" and "Fragments"- THartill drypoint,
chine colle with mixed media

"Ebb and Flow" - THartill woodblock prints on voile,
4 metres long

Saturday, 28 September 2013

First Impressions - National Printmaking Exhibition

I'm very pleased to report that I have had a print accepted to this National Printmaking Exhibition which opens on the 9th October and runs for a month.

It's a wonderful opportunity to exhibit alongside many very talented and skilled artists. 
Thanks to the Mairangi Arts Centre for the opportunity.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Group Printmaking Exhibition

Less than a week now til our group printmaking exhibition. 

If you are in town, come along.

Artworks are for sale.

Perhaps a chance for some early Christmas shopping? 

Drinks, nibbles, live music and LOTS of art.

The Trust Awards Show also opens on the Corban Estate on Thursday 3rd so make an evening of it.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Woodblock printing - on a bigger scale

As I prepare work for a group printmaking exhibition I have wanted to create work of a varied nature while still keeping to the theme of my current work which is to do with the ebb and flow of the tides and the detritus left behind in rock pools. I got this idea that some of the imagery I had been using, such as the seaweed pods and feathers, would look interesting printed on sheer fabric that was able to move in a breeze.

I started by carving large woodblocks on any largish "scraps" of MDF (customwood) I could find in the workshop. I used woodcutting chisels, a drill press and finally a scroll saw to cut out the shapes.To give an idea of scale, the feather is about 50cm long.

I printed the blocks onto sheer voile layed out across my lounge floor. Using water-based inks, I would ink up the block, position it, then stand on it to press it. I had an idea of composition and layout before I started but it more or less just developed as I worked. I have layered up multiple prints, printed onto both sides of the fabric and mixed subtle colour changes to attempt to portray an illusion of depth.

I suspect that this may be very addictive as it was exciting to see the design evolve and it was certainly an interesting way of working to be printing on both sides of a substrate. All I can say is "watch this space."

Sunday, 15 September 2013

100 Days project - mission accomplished!

My completed Pocket sized visual diary.

This year's 100 day project started way back on June 7th and finished on September 14th (yesterday) with a show which was open to the public until Sunday afternoon. It was fantastic meeting other 100-dayers and sharing our tales of highs and lows. It was amazing to see how much creativity there was going on in the community from people of all ages and abilities. There were the ultra polished, very professional projects by graphic artists and photographers, through to family projects and also the most endearing projects completed by children. Everyone agreed that it was a wonderful experience to take part in and although it required a lot of stamina and commitment, the sense of achievement was great. I'm sure everyone has learnt a little something more about themselves and their abilities and for many it will be a stepping stone to more challenges. Although everyone was heaving a huge sigh of relief that it was over, the conversations didn't take long til someone uttered the words "next time I'm going to...." .... yeah, nah.... we'll see.....

You can view my earlier posts on my 100 Days Project, 2013 HERE.

Here are few highlights of the last few days...

Day 87: The Barrel Store - our venue for a print group exhibition

Day 96: Rock pools - a current fascination.
Day 90: spent framing works for an upcoming exhibition.
Day 98: Puss sitting up at the table opposite me.
Day 99: RIP little pen, you served me well.
Day 100: The End.