Sunday, 10 September 2017

Honour Ring Circular Print Project

Honour Ring is a collaborative print project organised by the Franklin Print Collective, bringing together emerging and established artists from around New Zealand by making circular print works about the things they honour. It was on at the Franklin Arts Centre in Pukekohe from 8 - 24th July and presented a wonderful and inspiring collection of works.

This was a project I couldn't let pass by without participating as both the format and theme appealed to me. Many thanks to Esther Hansen, Vicki Moore-Allen and Jude Gordon for dreaming up this project and making it happen. It is due to travel on to Christchurch, New Zealand.

Designing an image.

I chose to honour "community" as my theme as, to me, it is such an important concept to nurture in the world, be it family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, ...  print groups and organisations... without community we are but an island.... (hmmm now there's an idea for another work.) I used my beloved subject matter of a rockpool to illustrate this.

Carving the "key" block of lino, this is 1 of 3 blocks used.

 I have only been doing linocuts on and off for about 2 - 3 years now and so I know I have so much to learn. So, again, as in each project I take on, I set myself a goal of pushing myself to raise the bar on what I've achieved previously. In this project I wanted to further test how much detail I could include and successfully carve. I also wanted to challenge myself with producing an edition using multiple blocks that would require a more accurate registration system than my "by eye and hope for the best" technique of old. For this I devised my own pin and tab set up, much the same as the Ternes-Burton Pins but made using cut down flat-head nails, a  strip of plexi-plate and tabs made from acetate. 

There were many other questions I had along the way which I tussled with until I had a satisfactory answer such as: How do you transfer an image onto the lino so it remains crisp and clear while you carve? 

The completed "key" block.

Testing colours, making corrections.

Printing an edition - first colour.

Second colour is added.

Third and final colour, phew.

As always the final image evolves in unexpected ways as process and technique steer me in directions which I may or may not have anticipated. That first print reveal is always a MOST exciting moment as the heart literally flutters in anticipation - I kid you not, either I get very excited or I have a heart condition!

"Together we are an Ocean" Linocut by Toni Hartill
Paper size: A3, Edition of 5, $160 each.

What do I honour?
I honour the strength that comes from “community”, in all its many forms.
We have one world, we need to get along – strong communities nurture balance and harmony in a fragile world.
"Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean." Ryunosuke Satoro

Rockpool linocut, early proof by Toni Hartill

A lesson to be learnt, perhaps: 

In the process of working on this image I began with a certain idea in my head about how I wanted the final image to look and with the pre-planned intention of creating the image from layering 3 separate lino blocks. For this reason I didn't want the key block, the darkest and final block, to be too busy or it wouldn't allow room for the other colours to create the illusion of depth or shadow. So, when I initially proofed the key block, I felt it was too busy and so I went on to cut away the design, especially on the outer ring. 

I only wish I had taken more prints from the block at this stage because, in retrospect, I actually really like the effect of this initial print. It feels really solid and... rocky. I try to be responsive to my work as it progresses and to seize on happy accidents, as and when they evolve. In this case I was focused on trying to achieve a pre-determined effect and so lost sight of the possibility of what was actually in front of me. I would still go on, in this case to strive to achieve the effect I was after in the end BUT I wish I had recognized the merits of the image in the early stages and taken a detour to print an edition. As this realisation dawned on me, albeit a bit further down the track, I did print a couple of other editions of the image, one of just the key block outline, a much simpler and cleaner image and a second colour version where I put more colour and texture back into the outer ring by applying the ink in a sort of circular rainbow roll effect. I can easily look at any of the versions of prints and see things I like and things I would change but all in all its been another great learning experience. Below is a gif showing the various versions of the image as it developed over time. 

If you are interested in purchasing any of these prints please contact me directly and follow my facebook page for updates of when and where the exhibition travels to in Christchurch.

Thanks  for visiting!

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