Friday, 19 July 2019

Imagined Journeys through Lost Landscapes - I, II, III

Lost Landscape Meander Books by Toni Hartill

Artist's Statement:

Imagined Journeys through Lost Landscapes I, II, III 

Imaginary journeys through the lost landscapes that once were the swamps of the Hauraki Plains. It is estimated that more than 98% of pre-European Kahikatea has been lost nationwide and now only occurs as forest fragments. Since researching our nation’s history regarding the demise of our pre-European landscapes I feel bereft for all we have lost and I fear for what we continue to lose.

Lost Landscape Meander Books by Toni Hartill

The making of the books

These books came about through play. 
And through a desire to paint rather than print. 

You may know that I was primarily a painter that has got way-laid by the lure of printmaking and I often, and always, long to paint again. These wee books were joyous to create: playing with paint, zoning out in the moment with wet-in-wet, colour and composition...

The structure of the books is known by various names including Snake Book, Meander Book, Accordion Book... My preference in this case is the Meander book as it suits the idea of a journey quite aptly.

They began with very loose watercolour paintings on both sides of heavy watercolour paper. I very much had ideas of imagery in my head (my imagined landscapes) and an idea of how the large sheet would actually read as many smaller pages within the books.

The boxes are made using a simple origami pattern folded into a box with a matching fitted lid. 

The paper for the boxes is antiqued and printed with text from an article, written by a descendant of the Bagnall brothers who ran a mill on the banks of the Waihou River at Turua, Hauraki Plains. There they milled Kahikatea trees to be made into butter boxes. The descendant expresses regret for their family’s part in the destruction of the forest as they describe the “men with axe and saw, slashing their way into the doomed bush… It was the beginning of the end for many of the feathered world that inhabited its depths… The massive trunks came faster and faster… but a grand and noble forest lay dying.”
Le Baigneau, “Where the Village Slew the Forest”, NZ Herald, 24 April 1937.

Refer also to:

EnvirohistoryNZ: The slaying of our kahikatea forests: how Jurassic giants became butter boxes

Watercolour paintings

 The finished painted surfaces

 Gridding up and cutting

 The joy of 3D forms

 Turning the pages to discover the mini landscapes within

Imagined Journeys through Lost Landscapes I, II, III 

Watercolour accordion books within origami boxes


by Toni Hartill

Small x2: 60 x 60 x 30mm I, II

Large x1: 80 x 80 x 40mm III

These books are exhibited, as part of a larger body of work 
 inspired by the loss of the Kahikatea forests of NZ, 
in the Forest has the Blues - Murmurings exhibition 
 at the Steel Gallery, Franklin Arts Centre, Pukekohe.

Opens Saturday 20th July, 10.30am.
Artist talk: 11.15am.

Exhibition: 20 July - 24 August, 2019.

View other books in my Artist Books tab.

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