Open House at Arts in Oxford

Open House is a great experience. We are in the final few weeks of the artist in residence project (on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) . We think we have spoken to the public for about 60% of the time we have been in the gallery working. Its has been very satisfying to talk to visitors and to realise how many people out there are actually very curious about how printmakers make images, how we research and experiment. We have all enjoyed being artists together, a great opportunity to exchange ideas and learn in good company. Just such a great idea; we have been very honoured be invited and very pleased to take part.

Fellow invited artists with Jo Ernsten are Kathy Anderson, Casey Macaulay, Ruth Stanton McLeod, Kris Waldin, Tessa Warburton. Last weekend visitors were offered the opportunity to print and take home a calico carry bag. We have made some more which are now on sale in the gallery.

Here are some photos I have taken of some work made to date. First up is an image of my table and some old and new work on the wall.

I have been using rock pigments from the Eyre/Waiaraki River that runs by Oxford. Water only runs through the braided river bed after rain, and the close-by headwaters are in and around the Mt Oxford hills. Weeds can grow and make the shingle beds unsuitable for nesting birds, but there is still lots to see at any time of the year. We have collected some of the weeds to make paper at the Gallery, and I am using some of this paper in my Open House art. I’ve been making *muller imprints with the paint I’ve made – browns, reds and greys. I have included paint made from green Waimakariri River rock as well – that river is not far from Oxford, and the Eyre/Waiaraki River eventually joins the Waimakariri closer to the coast. The Eyre/Waiaraki River used to end in swampy ground situated to the north of the point where it is now diverted into the Waimakariri.

From various maps I have drawn a section of the braided river in Oxford, made dry-point prints of the river bed structure (always moving!) and a selection of introduced weeds as well as New Zealand native plants that are found around and in the river bed.

*Muller imprints are made with the tool that is used to grind the pigment powder into the binder. The suction created by lifting the muller off the paint creates the patterns on the muller base that I then imprint on to paper. I have made two layered concertina booklets using the pigments and the braided river as inspiration. Not finished yet! A couple of other books using print and paint are also in progress.

More to come later.

Bookbinding

Have had a flurry of making prints to bind into books. These books are the result of making folios with painted paper and paper printed by two gelatine printing plates, one bought and one home made.

This is the latest effort; a book covered with acrylic paint on thick hot press paper (600 gsm or 360 gsm? Painted years ago). The binding is 4-needle coptic – my first one.

The book above has a 2-needle coptic binding. I’m following a video course – at the stage I’m at with bookbinding I sometimes find books hard to follow, and find being able to see what I am trying to do very helpful! The internet is such a wonderful resource.

Inside book block covered with harakeke + cotton rag paper made at the Oxford Papermaking Group.
Concertina book

This is a small concertina book. The cover is old wallpaper from my parent’s house in Auckland. Just love being able to use these odd bits and pieces left over and kept for decades. I thought the butterflies appropriate companions to the flowers, and had great fun using that trick of applying paint alongside a fold and then pressing the two sides together. I tried to be as quick and free as I could to outline the images in pen. I made a mistake though with the last one, as you can see, it wasn’t in the fold… but at least I had the opportunity to create another viewpoint.

These are all books I have made following the Handmade Book Club.

This is a case book that I made as well. In Oxford we have our own bookbinder – which is so great – and I learnt how to make these books from her a while ago. The first image below was created with a collagraph print suggested by the ‘fossil’ rock I have shown in a previous post.

Many of the prints are from gel plates such as the one below. The end paper is an embossed print formed by a piece of harakeke (New Zealand flax plant).

Case binding

This is my’ recycled’ book – made from a beer carton, ghost prints, left over printing ink or paint transferred to sheets of paper, and a cotton scrap from an old shirt to reinforce the spine for the exposed stitch binding – just in case. I consulted Alisa Golden’s book “Making Handmade Books” for this technique.

  • and it even works in a pamphlet binding for 19 A4 sheets of paper. I used the cover of the pad to enclose these sheets I’d dyed, printed or photocopied.
Pamphlet book – one signature

These books are destined to be diaries or journals or sketchbooks. Really happy to have found a use for my collection of paintings and prints.