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Handmade Bears and Blooms will melt your heart
If you go down to Mrs Harris's Shop this weekend you're in for a delightful surprise. There will be plenty of bears, some rare flowers, and several other endangered species, all begging to be taken home and treasured, in aid of an important cause - the rescue and protection of Asian Sun Bears, who are mercilessly exploited to feed the demand for bear bile that is still used in traditional medicine.
Take care of the Bear by Julie Milton, linocut with hand colouring
Handmade prints have been around for centuries, and they are showing no signs of going out of fashion. With all the modern technology at our disposal these days, we still love using our hands to create unique images. What's special about hand printmaking is it's a way to produce multiple images that can be shared with many others, while still having the assurance that the artist's hand was involved in producing each of the prints.
This is the third time that Bittondi Printmakers' Association has run a print exchange in aid of 'Free the Bears.' Each of the twenty artists produces an edition of ten prints. Only one of these prints is for sale at the exhibition, one is archived, and the other eight prints are sent to the other participants, so every artist receives eight unique prints in exchange for their own edition. Each of the prints on display costs a very reasonable $85 framed, or $65 unframed. The proceeds from the sold prints will be donated to 'Free the Bears'.
Sleepy Lizard Dreaming, linocut by Larissa MacFarlane
Each print is accompanied by an artists' statement, which gives you an insight into why the image was chosen. This is Larissa MacFarlane's statement: The Tiliqua rugose,also known as the sleepy, the stumpy tail and the pinecone lizard, has long been one of my favourite animals, reminding me of the warmth of inland South Australia and the years I spent travelling onto Arabunna and Kokatha country to protest against the world's largest uranium mine. In recent times, whilst travelling through illness and disability, I have spent much time thinking about the traditions that have brought humans comfort over the ages. The Dragon has become my solace in times of greatest despair.
Helianthus, photopolymer etching by Aislinn Dobson
Several of the prints, such as Helianthus (above) and the Giant Panda (below), were submitted by students from Aberfoyle Park High School, which provides Bittondi with its Print Studio. The students have taken part in all the Bittondi print exchanges so far and continue to produce a consistently excellent standard of work.
The Giant Panda, photopolymer etching by Charlotte Beddoes
Bittondi members are committed to sharing their skills with the community and they run regular workshops at the Studio that are open to anyone who has an interest in printmaking. A Bittondi member will be present at all times during opening hours, so you can ask any questions you like about how the prints were made! You might get a chance to see an image being carved, or even have a go at producing a print yourself.
Bears and Blooms is on show at Mrs Harris's Shop every Saturday and Sunday from 11am - 3pm, until October 1.