Basil has just returned from two workshops in February; the first, an etching weekend in Armidale, NSW, in connection with the opening of two touring exhibitions from BHE, and the second in Ampilatwatja (pronounced Umbludawatch), 4 hours NE of Alice Springs. It was great to be asked to go back to this remote community, as BHE hadn’t done any workshops out there at all and Basil himself hadn’t worked in the Utopia region for a number of years. Even though 12 years had passed since his last silkscreen workshop in Ampilatwatja (when he was running Northern Editions), several of the ladies remembered him and came once more to paint on plastic sheets (as Colleen is doing in the foreground) In all, fifteen artists each painted a series of up to 10 acetates. Art Co-ordinators, Amy Edgington and Caroline Hunter will have a tough job deciding which ones to get printed, as these ladies are brilliantly inventive and have always demonstrated their extraordinary artistic prowess in any new media they try.
The Armidale weekend workshop involved an enthusiastic group of 10, many of whom had travelled some distance from other New England towns. We did a number of colour etching techniques involving several plates each and including soft ground, hard ground, aquatint and sugar lift. It was good to have a chance to show the group through our exhibition “From Blue Mud Bay to Central Australia” which was hanging upstairs in the New England Regional Art Gallery. Once they had had a go at a number of techniques they could understand a lot more about the making of the beautiful etchings by Fiona Hall, Jorg Schmeisser, John Wolseley, Judy Watson and Djambawa Marawili (to name a few) in the touring show. One of the workshop participants has now enrolled to come to Skopelos on our Greek adventure!