Thursday, 31 May 2018

"Kaitiaki" - an exhibition celebrating kaitiakitanga and the return of Kiwi to Pukenui Forest.

Created for “Kaitiaki” –Pukenui Forest Kiwi Release Exhibition 
Limited edition Linocut, Variable Edition of 5
by Toni Hartill

 I was honoured to be invited to take part in this very special exhibition to be held in Whangarei, my home away from home,  where I have family roots dating back generations. Participating was an easy choice as I am particularly drawn to projects of an ecological nature and which allow me to research and explore history, culture, time and place. And, this exhibition aims to draw attention to an extremely important project, 10 years in the making: The Pukenui Forest Kiwi Release. (Scroll down for links.)

"Artists celebrate kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and the recent Kiwi Release event at Pukenui Forest. These artists are considering the importance of our native bush, flora, fauna, and it’s inhabitants and the guardianship role we all need to adopt to help these spaces thrive. Their work responds to the beauty of our natural environment, and highlights the need to protect these places in any way we can. Working across multiple disciplines, the artists have all approached the topic from their own unique perspective, in their choice of material and method.

Contributing artists include… Celia Walker, Toni Hartill, Gabrielle Belz, Alexis Neal, Lisa Clunie, Megan Bowers Vette, Prue McDougall, Christine Cook, Miriam von Mulert, Mariette van Zuydam, Andrea Beazley, and more.

Open: 1-19th June
Preview: Thursday 31st May 5:30 – 7:30pm 
Yvonne Rust Gallery, at The Quarry Arts Centre, Selwyn Ave, Whangarei.

In conjunction with the Western Hills Pukenui Collective. Pukenui Forest Trust, The Whangarei Quarry Gardens, The Quarry Arts Centre, Te Kowhai Print Trust and Kiwi North. Proudly sponsored by Whangarei District Creative Communities Scheme."

For more information visit:
 Facebook events page: "Kaitiaki Exhibition Opening."
Facebook page: Te Kowhai Print Trust 

 My ode to the Kohekohe tree

  I decided on a botanical approach, wanting to further hone my illustrative skills with lino cutting, but also with the intention of experimenting with multiple layers of colour and texture. A fair amount of experimenting and testing was done to trial different techniques and effects until I achieved a result vaguely in line with what was in my mind's eye. Each print went through the press five times, then the flowers were hand tinted and the seed pods hand coloured with gouache to make them POP. I don't usually include text in my images but it seemed appropriate in this print. I found I really enjoyed the effect of carving hand written text, which, when printed, embosses the paper with an effect a lot like letterpress. Something to play with further I think!

Created for “Kaitiaki” –Pukenui Forest Kiwi Release Exhibition 
Limited edition Linocut, Variable Edition of 5
Toni Hartill

“The Kohekohe tree was once plentiful in the North, forming dense lush forests, but their numbers have greatly reduced due to settlement of the land and introduced pests such as possums. 

The nectar-filled flowers are a particular delicacy for the possums in winter 
when there is not much other food available. The recent and concerted eradication of possums has meant that the forest is returning to health and, for the first time in a long while, the trees are flowering and are now setting seed. 

Inspiration came from the tree’s quiet beauty and a desire to celebrate this milestone by drawing attention to it. Old seed packets and historic wallpaper designs were also a source of inspiration in considering the effects of colonialism and settlement of the land.”

Time lapse of Kohekohe flower lino cutting by Toni Hartill.

 Follow me 
for further updates and progress shots.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, 28 May 2018

"Forest has the Blues" Moth Plant- work in progress.

This year I have teamed up with good friend and artist Celia Walker to bring to life her idea of a large scale print installation focused on the plight of our native forest remnants. Together with Celia and 5 other Auckland-based print artists, and including works by a selection of students from Pukekohe High School, we are working collaboratively towards installing a "forest remnant" upon the walls of the gallery at Depot Artspace in Devonport.This is new territory for us as we "brave up" to work bigger and bolder and collaboratively in a multi-faceted show. 

Wish us luck, follow our progress 
and come support us at the opening and other arranged events! 

I will endeavour to blog about our progress as we build towards 
the opening event on July 14th. 

Scroll down to see the development of my moth plant linocut.

This is the outline of our event as listed on facebook:

""Forest has the Blues" is an ecological project that focuses on the fragility and significance of our native forest remnants. The threats these remnants face are many, from the constant incursions of development and land-use change pushing their boundaries ever inwards, the proliferation of invasive weeds along their margins that can smother regrowth and limit regeneration, and the devastating effects of plant pathogens.

The project incorporates a large-scale print installation of native species and invasive weeds, as well as 200 native plants that will be given away to the local community during the course of the exhibition.

An exhibition around the theme of pocket forests will accompany the installation. Participating artists include Celia Walker, Toni Hartill, Elle Anderson, Kheang Ov, Nicola Ov, Ina Arraoui and Esther Hansen, and selected students from Pukekohe High School.

Many thanks to Creative Communities" for funding support!"

Araujia hortorum, moth plant

Other common names: kapok vine, cruel plant


Linocut Progression
by Toni Hartill 



Subscribe to my blog to receive updates in your inbox.

Visit our Event on facebook, 
keep updated with my posts on my 

Arm yourself with info 
and take action 
in the eradication of Moth plants!

Moth plant information links:

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Small Prints are go! Long live the Kahikatea!

"Forgotten Roots" by Toni Hartill

The "Small Print" exhibition is a traveling exhibition organised by PCANZ (Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand).  Members were invited to submit between 2 and 6 prints on quality A4 paper. Two of each artist's prints will hang at a time and will be replaced as they sell, and as the exhibition tours venues around New Zealand. Locations of venues include Gisborne, Hastings, Tauranga, Te Awamutu, Hutt Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Auckland. Visit the above link to keep up to date with the planned venues.

It was with both this exhibition, and another mini print exhibition, in mind, that I worked on my "30 days of block printing" challenge, as described in my previous blog post: "A year of self-imposed challenges."

Monoprint backgrounds by Toni Hartill

Assorted lino blocks by Toni Hartill

For subject matter I used the theme of yet another project I have been working on, which will culminate in a collaborative group installation and exhibition, "Forest Has the Blues", in July this year. With so many projects on the go my plan was to overlap the stages of ideas development and technique experiments for the best use of time and energy.

Small Prints by Toni Hartill

A key theme of "Forest Has the Blues" is to draw attention to the fragility and significance of forest remnants and the myriad of factors which threaten their continued existence. I chose to focus some of my attention on the disappearance of the, once extensive, Kahikatea forests across New Zealand, particularly in the Waikato and Waipu regions. Living in Auckland and traveling to visit family, both south to Tauranga, via the Waikato, and north to Whangarei, via Waipu I have always been drawn to the sorrowful wee huddles of these potentially beautiful, yet often bedraggled, remnants.

 Kahikatea remnants, State Highway 2 on the road south to Paeroa.

 Kahikatea remnants, State Highway 1 heading north, where it bypasses Waipu township.

Where have they all gone?

Great forests of Kahikatea once covered these low lying floodplains. With settlement of the land firstly by Maori and later by Europeans, areas were burnt off and cleared for food crops. Their location on lowland, fertile soils meant these "wastelands" were readily cleared to make way for productive farmland. Although unsuitable for naval or building applications, due to the softness of the wood, when refrigerated shipping was developed in 1882, there was a sudden demand for the timber due to the discovery that it's soft, pale, odourless wood was perfect for boxes as it didn't taint the food. And so, this once magnificent tree, a survivor of the Jurassic period, saw its further demise by being turned in to butter boxes!

Further decline of the remaining remnants occurs due to factors such as weeds, animal pests, insufficient fencing, and therefore protection from stock, and continued land development.

It is estimated that "more than 98% of the pre-European kahikatea forest has been lost nationwide." It is heartening to see, however, that there are a number of restoration initiatives across the country that would be well worth supporting. See links at the end of the page for more info.

Monoprinting and lino prints

A mixture of monoprint, lino cut and embossing 
these small prints are part of a larger series, (part of my "be prolific" goal) and each print is unique. I was interested in exploring interesting textures, layering effects with light over dark and misregistering of edges to get hot slivers of colour peeping through. I was also focused on embracing the imperfect and on the hunt for the happy accident (not always easy with my personality traits!)

"Once Were Giants"(detail) by Toni Hartill

"Small Prints"

These 5 prints are part of the PCANZ "Small Print" exhibition 
which is traveling to venues around New Zealand. 
Paper size: A4, print size approx:  8cm x 10-12cm

"All That Remains" by Toni Hartill

"Forgotten Roots" by Toni Hartill

"Forgotten Roots" (Detail) by Toni Hartill

"Once Were Giants" by Toni Hartill

"Once Were Giants" (Detail) by Toni Hartill

"Shelterbelt" by Toni Hartill

"The Last Stand" by Toni Hartill

For more information about our upcoming project "Forest has the Blues" 

visit our Event on facebook, 

keep updated with my posts on my 

and/or stand by for a blog post or two, yet to be compiled, 
but oh so many photos of progress to share!

A lonely Kahikatea tree, Milford, NZ.

And finally, look more closely in your neighbourhood 
for the odd lonely Kahikatea tree. 

There's one in Milford on the corner of Taharoto Rd and Shakespeare Rd, in front of the retirement village. Apparently there were two trees here until fairly recently but now just this solitary one remains. I think it should have a fence around it with a sign to draw people's attention to its significance and history - it was there long before we were. I fear it will just whither away until it either falls down in a storm or gets cut down as an eye-sore. I HOPE NOT!

Note: All photographs are taken by myself.
Please remember to attribute me correctly should you share the information.

Bibliography & links for more information about Kahikatea: 

Restoration projects in action: