Mashup in Lockdown

| review by Catherine Tempest |

The Pass it on project began during lockdown in early 2020 with the aim of keeping Newcastle Printmakers Workshop (NPW) members making art and remaining connected. The project has a three part theme of the city, woodlands, and urban meets nature. Currently on exhibition at NPW is the resulting work of fourteen members who participated in the project. Artists formed two groups of five, and one group of four. Each artist started an image, then passed it on to another artist for them to add their part. These were subsequently passed on to another artist until all artists in the group had contributed to each other’s work. Carol Archer, whose recent work focuses on artistic collaboration as well as its role in a tertiary education context, wrote in their artist statement for Pass it on, “Working with five people was challenging as it meant that each of us, at each stage but the last, needed to calculate what level of contribution would assist the development of the image while respecting others’ completed and potential contributions.”

There was an open choice of media to compensate for artists not having access to a printmaking workshop during lockdown. As the project progressed, a mashup of ideas formed into unique hybrid outcomes. Printmakers who are normally committed to a singular medium combined different print processes and non-print processes, while others were familiar with using print as an integral part of a broader mixed-media approach. The variety of technical processes reveal decisions that were guided by the project at hand. Media in the works include drawing, painting, watercolour, linocut, collage, screen print, wood block, sculpture, drypoint, collagraph, stencilling, chine-collé and etching.

In the four works based on the theme of the city, Sally Picker, Judy Henry, Vicki McNamara and Amanda Donohue depict scenes which may suggest the city is interrelated with, but also separate from nature. Their work includes city buildings reflecting the sun and other colourful planetary shapes; organic patterned panels decorating small house sculptures; and birds appearing as overseers of human habitation. (see below) 

City 1
Picker S., Henry J., McNamara V., Donohue A., Untitled, 2020, mixed media on paper, 297 x 420mm, courtesy of the artists

City 2
Picker S., Henry J., McNamara V., Donohue A., Untitled, 2020, mixed media, 6 x each (h) 123 x (w) 84 x (d) 84mm approx., courtesy of the artists

In the works by Ileana Clarke, Therese Wilkins, Carol Archer, Penny Wilson and Joh Waller, the subject of woodlands is rendered as shady foregrounds against light open backgrounds, which the viewer could imagine as quiet refuges from which they, in the woodland, can see all, but anyone in the field outside cannot see them. One work departs from the elements in the other four works to present an intriguing lone tree with a view of the tree’s subterranean root structure. (see below)

Woodlands 1
Clarke I., Wilkins T., Archer C., Wilson P., Waller J., Untitled, 2020, mixed media on paper, 297 x 420mm, courtesy of the artists
Woodlands 2 (detail)
Clarke I., Wilkins T., Archer C., Wilson P., Waller J., Untitled (detail), 2020, mixed media on paper, 297 x 420mm, courtesy of the artists

Michelle Hallinan, Gina McDonald, Melissa Murry, Chris Clifton and Robin Hundt have created distinct territories using composition, colour and narrative to convey the theme of ‘urban meets nature’. There is an embedded sense that urban dwellers have a lost connection with ‘nature’. Face masks and hand sanitiser are included as the almost unavoidable subject of Covid 19 is dealt with as nature surfacing in urban areas as an unseen viral presence. One imaginative artist has inserted quirky little spaceships reminding us that nature goes beyond planet earth! (see below)

Urban Meets Nature 1
Hallinan M., McDonald G., Murry M., Clifton C., Hundt R., Untitled, 2020,
mixed media on paper, 420 x 297mm, courtesy of the artists
 Urban Meets Nature 2
Hallinan M., McDonald G., Murry M., Clifton C., Hundt R., Untitled, 2020, mixed media on paper, 420 x 297mm, courtesy of the artists

These collaborations make for interesting conversations, especially as they are accompanied by photographs of the intermediate stages of development. Pass it on is an example of how collaboration can have a positive effect on creative risk-taking. In respect to the amount of risk involved in this particular project, it is noted that editions were not produced, which meant there was only one original of each image with which to work. Archer writes in their statement ‘Inevitably aspects of previous work are changed or lost in order to make an image that works, and this feels both exciting and risky.” In the photographs accompanying the exhibition there are details that do not appear in the final works, attesting to the inevitability Archer mentions. Penny Wilson addresses the point of risk in their artist statement, writing that the ‘process encouraged spontaneity and confidence in taking new directions on works that could not simply be discarded as with our personal practice but instead were to be passed on.’ NPW is open to the public from 10am – 2pm every Tuesday except in school holidays and is located at 27 Popran Road, Adamstown, NSW. Pass it on will remain on exhibition throughout September.  

Overwintering Project Exhibition at the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop with Kate Gorringe-Smith


On the weekend of the 23rd and 24th June the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop held their Overwintering exhibition as part of a larger project overseen and instigated by Kate Gorringe-Smith, artist and environmental activist based in Melbourne.  We were fortunate enough to have Kate open the exhibition on Saturday and deliver a heartfelt speech about the plight of migratory shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.  These little known birds travel between Australia, Asia and as far as Siberia and Alaska to breed and return on their annual flight making journeys we can only dream of.  The lives of these birds is truly fascinating as their trip involves doubling their body weight before setting out and flying for thousands of kilometres to reach their destined breeding grounds.

The Overwintering Project encourages artists to engage with the birds in their area, to visit their habitat and contribute artworks which will be exhibited in galleries with the view to engaging people with the importance of preserving and protecting critical habitat as unfortunately a number of these shorebirds are on the endangered list.  Over 20 artists from the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop were involved in this very worthwhile initiative and contributed a range of prints to showcase the birds in the Hunter Region, some of which can be seen in the warmer months in various wetlands and estuaries.

Furthermore thank you to Tom Clarke and Julianna Ford from the Hunter Bird Observers Club who attended the event which was fantastic as they had guided us on a number of visits to the Stockton Sandspit at the beginning of our overwintering journey.

For more information go to:






Newcastle Printmakers at the inaugural Art Fair at the Newcastle Regional Gallery – it was buzzing


Thanks go to Ahn Wells who oversees Newcastle Independent Galleries and her organisation of an Art Fair which held at the Newcastle Regional Gallery on Friday 27 April from 5 to 8pm.  The Newcastle Printmakers set up a display and mini-exhibition at the front of the gallery and spent an enjoyable evening talking to potential printmakers and art enthusiasts.  More thanks go to Vale Vincent, Michelle Strazzari, Suzi Zglinicki, Lisa Kirkpatrick, Helene Leane, Paul O’Brien, Jane Collins, Jeanne Harrison and Robyn Culley for all their help, organisation and passion for everything print.


Solar prints with Seraphina Martin

On the 17th and 18th April Seraphina Martin taught an intensive 2 day workshop at the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop on the diversity of solar plate.  Seraphina generously  shared her expertise in how to print using colour rolls and helped to unravel the mystery of viscosity printing.  All of the participants left with an edition of beautiful prints.



Overwintering Birds Gather

As we move towards our Overwintering Exhibition to be held at our workshop gallery in June prints have begun to arrive.  As printmakers we have the joy of being able to create an edition of artworks which will find their way into a travelling exhibition organised by Kate Gorringe-Smith who instigated this very important project.  Namely to raise awareness of the plight of shorebirds that travel to Australia each year to escape harsh winters from far off places such as Siberia, the Overwintering Project tells a story of how these birds are finding their habitats under increasing threat from manmade development.  A group of around 25 artists from the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop are focusing on birds which travel to the Stockton Spit and Hunter Wetlands Region to feed to gain weight to travel back thousands of miles to breed.

Our exhibition will be held at 27 Popran Road, Adamstown on Sat-Sun 23 to 24 June from 10am to 4pm.  The official opening is on Saturday from 4 to 6pm.


Overwintering Project for artists of the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop


Kate Gorringe-Smith, 2017, Notions of Home: Westernport (i), linocut with chine colle


A group of a printmakers from the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop are currently  engaged in a project initiated by artist, Kate Gorringe-Smith, who is based in Victoria.  Kate is a passionate supporter for the protection of overwintering sites which give respite and provide feeding grounds to a number of migratory shorebirds who travel along the East Asian–Australasian Flyway.  It stretches eastwards from Russia to Alaska and the southern end encompasses Australia and New Zealand. Between these points  the Flyway covers much of eastern Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and South-East Asia. In total, the flyway passes through 22 countries with approximately 55 migratory species travelling along it, equating to about 5 million birds.

In response to this project artists have begun creating works to be part of a travelling exhibition in Australia.  Works will be shown at the Moonah Arts Centre, Tasmania, Wyndham Art Gallery,  Victoria and the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, NSW.  The Newcastle Printmakers Workshop will also hold an exhibition at our gallery workshop in celebration of this inspiring project.

Follow Kate’s Overwintering page

Stockton Sandspit, birdwatching

A group of printmakers watching migratory shorebirds arrive at Stockton Sandspit, Sandgate, NSW with Tom Clarke from the Hunter Bird Observers Club.


The Long Wall awaits


Currently undergoing refurbishment at the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop is the Long Wall.  With a view to providing a pristine wall for displaying artworks Jim Williams has been working tirelessly to finish this project.  The panels which will be fixed along the walls have a magnetic surface which will allow for exhibitions of unframed works as well as providing tutors and artists alike an easy and effective way of displaying and reviewing their prints.  Thankyou also to Daniel for turning up to assist Jim with unloading and delivering materials for this extensive renovation.  We all look for to putting it into use.

Thankyou from members of the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop


Mokuhanga (Japanese woodcuts) in Ocean Grove

Robyn Culley and Jenny Kelly, members of Newcastle Printmakers Workshop, recently ventured to Ocean Grove, south of Melbourne, to take part in a Mokuhanga workshop run by Terry McKenna. Terry has studied in Japan and has a deep connection with the medium, and a generosity in sharing his knowledge. Terry was both disciplined and thorough and is available to teach in other locations if there is enough interest. Terry comes highly recommended by both Jenny & Robyn.

Find more information about the Mokuhanga School at

Robyn Culley

Manly Library Artists’ Book Awards 2017

The Manly Library holds an Artists’ Book Award on a biennial basis and provides artists working in the niche area of artist books the opportunity to be selected, and in some cases have their artwork acquired by the Library to be part of their collection.  This year the exhibition was held over the weekend of 1-2 April at the Creative Space in North Curl Curl, Sydney.  Two members of Newcastle Printmakers Workshop were selected for this fascinating exhibition (Trudy Goodwin and Gina McDonald) along with one of our recent tutors Guy Begbie.  The works contained within this show tackled a wide diversity of themes and topics combining the tactile with visual poetics.