Sunday, 14 July 2019

Estuary Art & Ecology Prize, 2019 - the making of my entry


Following on from my earlier posts about my entry into the Estuary Art & Ecology Prize, 2019, this post reveals some of the many hours of work that went into the making of my artist's book "Search & Rescue" created specifically for this event and which was awarded a Merit prize. To read about the kaupapa (purpose) of this event and how my entry came about please visit my earlier blog here. To view images and results of the awards ceremony please visit this blog here.


Scroll on to view images of the making of the work. 

As you will see in the images below there is a lot of 
detail hidden amongst the pages. If you happen to visit the exhibition 
you are invited to carefully lift the layers and explore within.

NOTE: To view the images in a larger format click on any image and a gallery of images should open on your computer screen allowing you to scroll through them and view them in more detail.



The Estuary Art & Ecology Prize, 2019

 July 13 - September 1st,
Uxbridge Arts Centre, 
Howick, Auckland, NZ

The brief:

The only contemporary art prize in Aotearoa New Zealand with ecology at its core. Artists are invited to research and respond to the Tāmaki Estuary, to underscore the ecological value of this vital waterway and encourage action against its pollution.

With a total prize pool of $8,300 the winning artworks will be intelligent and innovative responses to ecology in the field of contemporary art.

"Search and Rescue"

by Toni Hartill, 2019.

Artist's book "Search & Rescue" by Toni Hartill

The making of "Search and Rescue"

270mm wide x 1900mm long

Processes used include:
collograph, linocut, monoprint, drypoint, watercolour,
hand and machine stitching, papercutting.

Materials used:
varied hahnemuhle papers, sheer fabric, thread, beads,
found driftwood and rusted hardware, fabric, brass fittings.

Printing large collographs for background structures.

Cutting into the collograph backgrounds.


Collographs and etched lino

Linocuts on sheer fabric

Monoprinting with leaves

Creating and adding in details


Building up layers and playing with composition.


Experimenting with combinations and colourways.

Stitching sections together

Sewing on the many individual pieces by hand.

Creating more details

More stitching, more composing, more layers

Creating critters to inhabit the mud.

Flaps conceal little surprises.

Replicating seaweed with monoprinting and more cutting

Hand-stitched beads

Creating the header

 Tying up and gluing all loose ends.

This was a lengthy project which started with a loose idea that quickly morphed into something quite different from my initial concept. It grew and developed, on the trot, as I experimented, responded and reacted to the work as it was being created. There was a lot of problem-solving required as new and often unexpected challenges presented themselves. Continual decisions had to be made about composition and construction which often lead to new ideas. At times it was hard to reign in the inspirations to keep it manageable and realistic.

Meanwhile, particularly during the construction phase of stitching it together,  a lot of patience was required. I even questioned my sanity for allowing the project to blow out to such a challenging proportion. And I did wonder what on earth had possessed me when it came to needing to store the work and then to package it for delivery. 

In the end however,  this has been a major piece of work for me that has taught me a lot, sparked many new ideas and projects which have blossomed off in different directions (you may recognize some elements that appear in other current projects I have blogged about) and has challenged me to work outside of my comfort zone on many levels.

Always good to challenge yourself don't you think?

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