Sunday, November 19, 2017

Upcoming Mixed Media class

This info will be in the catalogue - see website for more details.

This print based mixed media class explores a variety of interventions on paper and fabric towards creating a collection of layered surfaces, textures and experimental samples.
The course of the week is structured with some time each day allocated to introductions to various print media, demonstrations and some short activities to help identify artistic individuality.  Participants then expend from this base working on their own projects and goals with support.

We will cover printmaking techniques that lend themselves towards abstract and painterly effects through mono, rust and offset printing. Resulting prints can be integrated with solar printmaking which is an accessible process capable of producing detailed graphic and text plates. Further interventions such as hand stitching, piercing, cutting, folding and encaustic wax can then be applied. The results can remain as samples or be taken further: stitched into a book, a ‘quilt’, collaged onto substrates of foam core, mdf and laser cut out shapes or resolved as a three dimensional assemblage like a figurine/puppet (check out ‘bricolage’ for ideas) or jewellery.

There are no prerequisites for this course, it is suitable for beginners to advanced makers. Because mixed media is so flexible it can also become overwhelming, so many choices! The only requirement, to give yourself more clarity, is that you are asked to consider an approach, topic or theme that you would like to focus on over the week and also bring along an image of an art work that inspires you.

A selection of work from the 2017 class.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Island Inspirations Weekend: Cyanotype Workshop

Over the weekend of 3rd and 4th of June Stewart Island locals and visitors came together for a Photography workshop with Graham Dainty and a Cyantoype workshop with me. We also enjoyed a fabulous shared meal and evening talks! 

Little bit of info: The cyanotype process for making prints was invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842 and came from his discovery of the light sensitivity of iron salts. It produces a deep indigo image (known as Prussian Blue), which can be printed onto many surfaces. English Botanist  Anna Atkins used the process for what is considered to be the first work with photographic illustrations, namely her Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843). 

Anna Atkins

A bit of problem solving and a broken window went on in
 order to find a way to print Janet's seaweed

Janet's large kelp print

Cyanotypes are also referred to as sunprints. There are different recipes, we used a traditional mixture using 2 solutions, a combination of Ammonium Ferric citrate (iron), Potassium ferricyanide and water.  The mixed solution was coated onto the paper in the dark with the help of red light torches (which were in abundance as used on the Island for Kiwi spotting), dried quickly with hair dryers, exposed to sunlight and washed to remove the unexposed chemistry. 

Heading off to teach away from home takes
a bit of organising, here's my scruffy list

Experimenting with different materials.

Zane and Sue plotting and planning whilst apparently
drinking meths.

Exposing prints in the sun

Lots of experimentation went on - using different mediums to block the light.

Shona: rubber stamping used as a light blocker,
printed onto silk organza
Tallis experimented with Indian ink on transparency.
 (Also, not shown, water droplets.)
Tallis's result: ink flicks combined
 with pen drawn image
Drawing with Sharpie pen on transparency

Jewellery and the ever popular onion bag

Hand drawn image, cyanotype print toned with tannin.
A dreamy pillowcase made by Annett
Pip's lace

Beautiful broken glass print - Janet.
Painted and exposed wood to show the grain
The remains on our coating boards looked good too
On day two we worked with digital negatives which required more experimentation with timing of exposures.

Digital negative

What a print looks like after exposure before being washed out.
Detail of Megan's work.

I have the cutest of friends.

Same negative, two different exposure times.
Longer in the light creates a darker image.
A side of Shona you might not have expected to see
Zane's photo, manipulated with a Photoshop filter then printed

Jo Learmonth organised some images from the Stewart Island Rakiura Museum for use for this project, applying the Creative Commons License. It was magical for me seeing these images from the past appear after exposure and washing out.

Labels from the Stewart Island Rakiura Museum printed by Pip

Megan, Janet, Shona, Sue, Annett, Pip, Sharon, Zane and Tallis you were an amazing class.

I find this a super useful reference site:

The weekend was made better by significant help from the Photography Department @ Dunedin School of Art, where I  pre-coated some papers and the University of Otago. Thanks to Dave Warren, from the Chemistry Department, fellow cyanotype enthusiast Steve Ting from SciComm (who will be hosting an upcoming workshop at Otago Museum) and Tallis Lentz, our chief chemical mixer from the Chemistry Outreach Programme. 

Stewart Island put on a stunning departure morning.

Thanks to Stewart Island Promotions for organising this creative weekend - I hope there is a repeat next year.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Toni Hartill Art: PCANZ Summer School 2017

Toni Hartill Art: PCANZ Summer School 2017: The 2017 PCANZ Summer School took place in Auckland again this year at St Cuthberts College in January. The format was different fro...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

SciArt: Orokonui Halo Project with The Sandpit Collective

Some photos of process  - using art as a platform to encourage awareness and conversations around biodiversity and predator control.
HALO Project

Monday, October 31, 2016

St Margaret's College Welfare Staff Artwork

I was invited to make an art work of the St Margaret's College Welfare Staff @Otago University I have done this previously and always enjoy the interactions with the staff whilst taking their photos. This time we began by making some bubbles which helped everyone relax in front of the camera. Lots of images were captured, trees were climbed and everyone looked gorgeous.
The Bubble On kits give hours of fun
Shadows on campus

I could have made an artwork from one of the group photos but I liked the idea of having images that were clear and readily identifiable. Portraits were shot in front of a green screen which I later removed in Photoshop. Then I processed the photos through my favourite online tool ever, Photofunia.   Because it is a long complicated affair to turn a photo into a sketch in Photoshop this filter seems quite magical to me. The resolution is not high but it is enough!

Some images translate more successfully than others, it helps if the photo has a degree of contrast. I tried a few options and then printed these out onto transparency film ready to be processed as solar printing plates. 

Sarah option #2

Poor person's face swap, amusing myself layering transparencies

After making the plates I spent a couple of days printing them onto paper through my press whilst trying to decide on colours, backgrounds and layout. In my mind there are a couple of factors which influence my choices. The College has a very classic feel and the already collected art reflects this style so I choose to print in grey tones. (Perhaps spurred on by the fact that I had just purchased a new tin of Gamblin cool black ink.) Staff also gave me quotes which I tried incorporating as backgrounds but the overall effect of so much text became visually confusing.

working proofs

Yizhuo's quote

Consideration number two is that this group is very much a team,so I think their portraits should work together to make a whole. Often in compositions something is dominant but here I want to show equality. I was initially going to do a row but when I laid everyone out I realised I had made a miscalculation. The backing paper was not available in a big enough size so instead I cropped the prints into 10 x 10 cm squares and chose a grid pattern. This produced a small dilemma. With 11 staff there is the what would I use for the 12th square? I trialed lots of things - a koru shape from a sculpture in the College grounds, infinity spirals, the year 2016 stencilled.  I needed something that faded back more and did not 'compete' with their portraits so printed  lots of +++'s to signify the positive effect these amazing people have. I look forward to seeing the achievements of these amazing role models in the future. Thanks for involving me!

2016 Welfare Staff Print