Tuesday, 23 November 2021

"A Cautious Reopening" - The Sequel


"A Cautious Reopening" Limited Edition linocut by Toni Hartill

Inspired by the experience of being in an extended lockdown from August til December 2021, in Auckland, New Zealand / Aotearoa, during the Covid-19 pandemic, this linocut was created to express my (and others') cautiousness towards the stepped reopening of our bubbles. 

In the second year of the pandemic, I think no-one was surprised when the Delta variant finally arrived in Auckland via the Aussie travel bubble and NZ went into a Level 4 lockdown on August 18th. The rest of the country moved down (and up and down) the levels while Auckland moved to Level 3 after 5 weeks, and then only gradually eased some restrictions while still in level 3 for another looong10 weeks when we are all due to move into a new "framework" as vaccination rates reach 90%. 

Coincidentally, yesterday, as I wrote this, it was announced that all of the country will move to the new framework next Thursday, 2nd Dec. Scroll to the end for a final comment.

As many can relate this lockdown has not been an easy experience for so many reasons. 

Any ability to be creative completely deserted me for weeks due to the general malaise of "Lockdownitis", the uncertainty caused by having my solo exhibition due to open but not knowing when or if, plus some intense family health dramas. It has only been very recently that I have been inspired and able to begin some new work and to look forwards to new goals.

Scroll down to read about the work 

and to see the making of the print.

"A Cautious Reopening" by Toni Hartill

"A Cautious Reopening"

Paper size: A4 / 210mm x 297mm
Media: Linocut
Paper: Hahnemuhle Stella Matte, 230 gsm
Limited Edition of 30

Prints are available to purchase in my online shop
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FREE Standard shipping in NZ.

To celebrate Auckland's reopening 
10% off all shop sales until midnight Dec 14th.

"Stick to your Bubble" by Toni Hartill (SOLD OUT)

A sequel

This new linocut is a sequel to my "Stick to your Bubble" linocut, created during the first lockdown in March 2020, when the entire world began locking down due to the pandemic. Click here to see and read about this earlier work which was created for a print exchange, "Distant Conversations", to mark this unusual period in our lives.

"At a time when we were confined to our homes and our lives had to slow right down, snails seemed to be a particularly apt totem. The snail's habit of withdrawing into its shell when a threat is perceived, and its ability to seal itself away for long periods, being completely self-reliant seemed especially relevant." 

Toni Hartill

Yes!! More SNAILS!

As you can see, NZ Kauri snails again have the starring role. I've previously written about my attachment to snails as a personal totem and have included them in a few earlier artworks including "Pūpūrangi/ Kauri Snail, Kauri" and "Home as a Sanctuary"

This time the snails are seen venturing out of their jar (bubble). 
The lid is off and they are emerging, albeit cautiously.

As in earlier work I have researched the symbolic meaning of some of our native plants with the intention of adding layers of meaning that is relevant to this particular period of transition in our lives.

Toni Hartill

NZ Kauri leaves

The kauri is a symbol of courage, encouraging us to move forward with our plans for the future with renewed creative energy and motivation as new opportunities for growth open up to us.

Toni Hartill

Fern leaves 

Ferns are a symbol of new life and new beginnings. 

Toni Hartill

Pohutukawa leaf

The Pohutukawa is celebrated as "the NZ Christmas tree" with it's vibrant red, fluffy blooms appearing in early December. With Christmas and the summer holidays rapidly approaching it is certainly a driver behind the speed at which restrictions are being eased and, in particular, Auckland's closed borders are being allowed to open.

Toni Hartill

Kowhai seedling

The kowhai,  NZ's unofficial national tree, is said to symbolise personal growth and helps people move on from the past with a renewed sense of adventure. Flowering in spring it is a sign of new life and a new start. In the image the seedling sprouts forth out of the confines of the jar.

Making of

Click on an image: it will enlarge on your screen and
you can then scroll through all of the images.

Or just continue scrolling here.

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill


Once the lino has been carved and all the woolly bits cleaned up, the process of proofing (for me) involves multiple prints as I test, evaluate, tweak and revaluate my carving until I am happy that it "reads" as I intend. It usually involves tentatively seeking feedback from members of the family to check how others might view the work. 

(Please don't crush me with your harsh critiques but give me honest, constructive comments!)

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill


Once I'm happy with all tweaking and I've mixed the ink to the desired colour, in this case a warm black by mixing yellow ochre and black, I set up the press with a guide for registration and put runners in place ready to start printing. The paper, is cut to size and ready to go. Then it's time to  dial up some cruisy music to get me in the zone and the editioning begins!

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Toni Hartill

Today's Announcement

Today it was announced that Auckland, and the whole of NZ, will move to the new "traffic light system" next Thursday, 2 December. For Aucklanders, after 15 weeks in lockdown, this will mean more "freedoms" such as being able to access hospitality venues and events using our new Vaccination Passes. On December 15th all double vaccinated or tested people will be able to exit Auckland for the summer.

Many Aucklanders are chomping at the bit to get the "hell outa dodge", understandably. 

Some of us are a bit more tentative about what the border opening and eased restrictions will mean for the coming months. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely PINING to get up north with my family and to get away to sea for the summer BUT I'm also wary of the rising case numbers, the spreading virus, the vulnerable members of our communities and the squeezed health system. 

So, like my snail buddies, I'm all for a cautious reopening.

Stay well, stay safe, 
wherever you are.

Toni Hartill

Many thanks 
for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Artful Narratives - Tentative New Dates!


An last an update!

Clearly, my exhibition didn't go ahead as rescheduled in my previous post due to the extended Covid Lockdown in Auckland, which began on August 18th when just one case of the Delta strain was reported in the country. Now, as I write this on 16th November, we are STILL in a level 3 lockdown in Auckland. Cases are now popping up around the country and we are chasing the target vaccination rate of 90% in order to progress to a new Traffic Light system, allowing more freedoms particularly for Aucklanders.

That's a very brief precis of what's happening - suffice to say, I decided to abandon any thoughts of proceeding with my exhibition, with all of the uncertainties and restrictions, and aim for new dates next year. 

So, pencil in the dates of 2nd April til 2 June, 2022!

This is timed to coincide with the much anticipated Printopia Festival of Print, which has also been rescheduled to the weekend of May 7th, 8th. I still plan to teach my artist's books workshop during the festival, so be sure to keep an eye out for updates and when to book.

Artful Narratives Catalogue in progress


I was especially looking forward to having my specially designed catalogue printed for the exhibition and I got as far as having my artwork proofed by the wonderful local print company Fuzed. I was so excited when I received the proof, to see that all my hard work had paid off and my quirky little idea of a one-page folding booklet, printed up so beautifully.

Once dates are confirmed, and I've updated the artwork, yet again, I can't wait to share this wee memento with visitors to my exhibition.

"Remanent" by Toni Hartill

Up close and personal

 A really important intention, for me, of wanting to present this exhibition as a large body of work, is to be able to engage with visitors to the show and to enable them (you!) to interact with the artworks, up close and personal. Being able to turn the pages, lift the flaps and peer inside. 

Going online was therefore never a satisfactory option.

So, I hope you'll keep in touch 

and join me next year!

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