Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Collaboration with Wendy Murray and Antonia Aitken Megalo print studio

Just before Christmas we were given the most enjoyable treat of having invited artists Antonia Aitken from Megalo Print Studio in Canberra and Wendy Murray. The two of them having had a memorable Hill End Arts Residency through Bathurst Regional Gallery, it wasn't hard to get them to come back.
This experience of having these two inspiring women collaborating in our print room was a weekend we won't forget.
The two of them took to our Farley proofing press and our collection of lead and wooden type with such enthusiasm and sense of order that Bill and I watched from a distance.  
 Firstly starting off with the poster design which had a carnival mood to it, upon the page lept Wendy's Jo and Josephine, Antonia's black dog Tango and the Hill End Press rabbit. These were created in lino cuts by Antonia while we all were sitting up watching the Dvd Pet Cemetery(kindly brought by Wendy to celebrate our family christmas night together!)
The next stage was for the lead type drawers to be fully explored with Wendy and Antonia taking great delight in choosing, sorting type and fitting it all into the chase.(Hill End Press now has another type drawer sorted)
Then the girls and Bill cranked up the Farley (flat bed press) with others watching eagerly on. As this press never came with instructions and no manual exists as far as we know, there was a bit of juggling but persistence prevailed and we were rewarded with a great image.
This press was originally intended for newspapers as a final confirmation and check before going to print. Ours came from Wilcannia Newspaper with chases still set in type with wonderful stories of the local people and two chests of type thanks to artist Simryn Gill and Nicky Bry MCA contacting us to send them to a happy print home. 
After a few goes on cartridge paper and adjustments we did the final prints on art paper that Antonia had kindly brought with her. 
The results we were very inspired from with this style of printing especially when wooden type is used as it has beautiful nuances in it that can never be done with computer generated printing, this was where the delight lay in the print.
So for Bill and I at Hill End Press it was a top weekend mainly for the reason of this wonderful energy and enthusiasm in the studio, our dinners together, exploring Hill End tip, a must see and the hanging of the Christmas lights that Wendy had found still in their original packaging from the 60's in Bathurst.
We had a lot of fun getting to know each other and satisfaction of achieving and collaborating with Wendy and Antonia we would welcome them back at the drop of a hat.