Monday, August 24, 2015

Art and Light

Celebrating the UNESCO International Year of Light, the Art and Light Exhibition is a collaboration between the Dunedin School of Art and the University of Otago Departments of Physics, Botany, Anatomy, Physiology and Computer Science, hosted by the Otago Museum.

17 artists created visual responses to scientific research in collaboration with 13 scientists.  I was paired with my daughter Petra Fersterer and got some insight into her research on Trapping Ultra Cold Atoms in Optical Lattices. It was complicated, however I found my first link by mimicking her process of writing up notes on a whiteboard - I chose to cover up a large wall with a blackboard.

Paper blackboard made as a way to process information.
Detail from the blackboard showing the aspects of the
science which interested me the most
 Petra's work is purely theoretical so I made some of her notes and diagrams into solar plates and printed them. This seemed like a relevant process, being that solar plate is processed with light and I felt like I was 'trapping' the imagery.

Petra's notes overlaid with a squiggle filter to
echo a Feynman diagram 
Initial printed proofs including the 'fringe' -excess information

Masters student Kris Roberts is undertaking experimental research similar to Petra's. He works in the Neils Kjaegaards Lab and Petra's research is the maths behind what happens in the Lab. I was struggling to visualise what to make until Kris gave me a tour of the Lab. After this I went home and pulled some old camera's apart and the idea of making lenses full of information started evolving.

Neils Kjaegaards Lab, Otago University
 I was particularly fascinated with the notion that atoms change when you observe them and so I started distressing small round mirrors. I had varying degrees of success (i.e. lots of shattered glass) with printing and etching directly onto the glass however I did achieve surfaces that change when you look at them. Thanks to my friend Julie Whitefield who taught me the glass etching and made the stencils.

Pendant/Lens trials. 30mm
etching mirror glass

A challenge of the project for me was using imagery that was theoretical and not something I was initially aesthetically attracted to.  After some time I found my voice and added in things that were optical grids to me, such as a crochet doily pattern. I had a frenzy of over printing and layering some prints towards a point of visual confusion to communicate my difficulty in learning about the quantum world. Discs were then cut from the 
prints and embedded in a bezel with a mirror and a layer of clear resin.

layered prints

Sample of prints before being overlaid with a mirror and resin

detail of pendants - 120 made in total
Petra found the project valuable in having to explain her research to a different audience so they could understand it as she is used to communicating with people having a similar or higher level of physics training as she does.

Child and pendant installation. Thanks to Craig Scott from
 Otago Museum who added a large mirror backdrop.

 The pendants are available for purchase as I like the idea that people wear the pendants, the art is then mobile, a bit like the probability of places where an atom could be – it is in all places, it is here, it is there.   

 Atoms are coherent, here too they shine a bit
 of reflected light on each other.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Some images from the Mixed Media and Printmaking Class at Wanaka Autumn Art School

piercing paper to add a tactile layer
Roz embellishing her book covers
reclaimed book page - gesso + rust
mini art journals made with reclaimed pages/paper
Bec's collagraph - printing embroidery
Barbara's solar prints ready to be cropped and collated into a picture.
 Imagery from her photos of a previous work place in Australia. 
Claire's solar print coming off the press.
(Paper was trimmed after printing or printed as a bleed print
 so we did not have to be concerned with registration.) 
Elizabeth's solar print from one of her sketches
Multiple images exposed on one plate
A selection of gelli prints, cyanotype and solar prints
A selection of print work by Patricia -
real peacock feathers and bits of wool were exposed directly onto solar plate
Needless to say the week flew by and I was sad when it was over. Hopefully there will be the opportunity to teach at the Wanaka Art School again!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


From the Open Arts Newsletter - Open Arts members have  first option but I am happy to take a waiting list in case all places are not subscribed.

Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th March
This is to be held during the first weekend of Almost an Island. In the Mac Bay Hall supper room. 
Tutored by Lynn Taylor - a foremost print maker and teacher.
The workshop is a one day course – and there are two of them – the Saturday and Sunday – there are six places available each day – the cost around $90.00.
The course starts at 9:00 am and finishes at 5:00pm.
This is a great opportunity to learn the skill of print making.
For further information and to register please contact Lynn directly!
Email – or phone her on 4780983.
There has already been considerable interest in this workshop so don't hesitate, it will be well worth while!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reclaiming Book Pages

I got inspired by a pin by Janina on Pinterest which links to her blog -  Yes!  Altering the pages of old National Geographics. 

 Scoring magazines was the easy part - plenty in N.Z op shops. However I could not find a stockist for  Citrasolve. I tried Desolve it, also a citrus based cleaner, but it was not strong enough. I could not stop there so Googled and found another citrus based product d-Limonene.
selection of altered pages

 Sometimes small 
areas of text show through.

Ordered it, tried it - found it really hard to wait the 30 minutes for the reaction to process and I could not find a sponge brush. Some success though - but on my trial ones I  found the intensity of the marbling and colour a bit full on for my intent. Instead I came up with this method which appeals to me greatly - the pages create beautiful backgrounds which will work well interleaved into pages of a tactile sketchbook.It was an enjoyable process to do - creating a process sense of under erasure/ the palimpsest

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Autumn Arts School

I'm teaching a mixed media class....but there are many other courses if that is not your thing and you want to be in Wanaka at a stunning time of year.

Lynn Taylor - Wanaka Textures, a print commissioned as a wedding gift.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Art and Science - IceFest

As a development from the frottage table top I made for the Art and Anatomy project I was asked to make relief plates that could be used as an educational tool in the NZ IceFest. Students provided drawings of sea creatures and together Dr Jenny Rock and I translated these onto transparency film and processed them in solarplate.

Drawing of krill by one of the students that was made into a frottage plate

These screenshots and the video link give a glimpse of the texture rubbing action (around 3:10).  

Today I was delighted to receive an email from Jenny with an extract from the thesis of Lydia, one of students involved - seems the activity was a great success.  "This meant that visitors could create a picture to take away with them. The rubbings were aimed at kids (under 12), however they were popular with many people older than this too. We estimate that around 95% of children who entered the exhibition created a rubbing. Over the 16 days the exhibition was open, about 3600 rubbings were made (this number was estimated because two 180m rolls of newsprint were used, with each metre producing approximately nine pieces of paper when cut up). "