Celebrating 20 !!! News Update March 2011

To celebrate we will be doing a number of things. First off as a special treat for the studio Mark has ordered a bunch of big litho stones for the workshop and a special trolley to move them around with which means that we will be able to provide artists with even better surfaces to work on. Then we will be taking all the staff for a day of game watching and eating lots in the Kruger Park (we will be going with a guide in one of those safari type vehicles). For the local community, we will hold a lino cut competition at the Mohlakwaan Farm School. The best prints will win cash prizes. And then for you.... a Green Award. We would like to hear about what green things you are up to. The person who comes up with the most innovative green/environmentally sustainable thing that they are doing with their lives will win a print by Sibonelo Chiliza. So get doing and let us know by the end of June.

Now for the numbers: we have worked with 122 artists from 7 African countries and 7 other countries.
Total editions printed: 812
Printed on contract: 206
Published by us: 606
Editions in stock 350
Editions sold out: 256
Approximate total number of prints printed: 32 480
Most visitors to our website: 5817 (Nov 2010)
Smallest print editioned: William Kentridge “Untitled” 1999. 12 x 13 cm
Largest print editioned: William Kentridge “Learning the Flute” 2004. 281 x 356 cm
Artists’ books produced: 14
Psychological conditions encountered in artists: too many to mention.
Tamarind Master Printers in the house: 2
Happy children on the property: 2

In the last five years, we have been consolidating what we do and plan to continue into the next twenty years improving on what we have done. Somewhere along the line, we seem to be doing something right, as we seem to weather the storms faced by the art world – perhaps it has something to with being physically removed from the trajectory of the storms?

It seems fitting to start off the year with a bunch of flowers. Sibonelo Chiliza’s prints were signed in December and are now available. Printers who have visited the studio and seen his prints are blown away by his ability to take advantage of the full range of what lithography offers; these are prints for hard-core print nuts!

Towards the end of 2010, the studio was dominated by monoprinting, our October workshop was attended by Sue Williamson, Nikki Leigh, Josie Grindrod, Fred Clark, Sheila Flynn and Colbert Mashile. We are thinking of running a lithography workshop for a week for a maximum of three people; let us know if you are keen. Karin Daymond and Colbert Mashile both produced a portfolio of monoprints which are now up on the website, for two different takes on the local landscape by Mpumalanga based artists (political, physical and spiritual) These will prove that our province has something besides political assassinations and wildlife safaris to offer!

Hanneke Benadé and Sam Nhlengethwa worked in the studio towards the end of last year and we are busy editioning their new work which is looking good. Anton Kannemeyer has just finished collaborating on a new series of prints, which when released will either entrance or infuriate you!

And then we went to a talk at Halls (a local company) and when coming home nearly drove into a hippo on the main road. In itself, this is an event but following the topic of the talk, and the time of the hippo sighting (9:11 pm) we think that we need to take note. Colin Campbell was the speaker. Colin is a traditional healer from Botswana who speaks, teaches and facilitates around the globe as well as working with pre-industrial communities from the Amazon and Kalahari to the Sami in the Arctic ice. As we understood his talk our industrialized lives are wrapped up in production and measuring ourselves in terms of production (see list at the top!!!); whether it is getting top marks in an exam, manufacturing Hummers or winning court cases we all measure others and ourselves by how much we produce. When there is one last tree standing in the Amazon we will cut it up to make tables. Our obsession with production and its measurements of personal and national success is at the base of the global environmental crisis. What we need to do is to look at new ways of living in the world and of relating to the environment and each other. To work out how to let go, a good starting point is to get as close as one can to intact wild environments and to immerse oneself as much as possible in them (preferably without the insulation of portable fridge, cell phone, alcohol etc). If we don’t let go of our dependence on production above all else we are going to hit that hippo and it will not be good for either the hippo, the vehicle or us.

The garden seems to be growing up as well and this summer it all seems to have pulled together. Our forays into creating a food forest are starting to take off (turmeric is doing very well in a shady spot below the big chicken hok) and the star fruit, jaboticaba and cinnamon trees are all thriving. We have also started harvesting figs and our pomegranates are fruiting abundantly (must be all the rain).

We harvested our first bucket of potatoes in November and have added a second chicken tractor to the veggie garden. Copying a local organic farm we have dramatically cut the need to weed beds by simply laying two sheets of newsprint over the prepared bed, wetting it and then making holes through it to plant seedlings and seeds. We then weigh the newspaper down with a thin layer of mulch to stop the wind blowing it away. Keeps the weeds out, moisture in and stops the veggies roots being disturbed by weeding.

We have discovered a fantastic South African company that sells hard to get heirloom seeds, they are called Living Seeds. We can attest to their Bizana beans, Parisian pickling cucumbers and Egyptian bunching onions. And we have worms! Tamar has an earthworm farm going, it is somewhat micro at this stage as these red wrigglers don't seem to have much of an appetite. The worm tea (fantastic fertilizer) that they produce is extra special as they produce so little. We are hoping that by building up the population we can get them producing enough to keep our fruit trees happy.

The pets are all doing well but a bird/dog identity problem has developed. The two guinea fowl follow the dogs everywhere (they seem especially fond of Oscar) and rush off calling after the dogs when the dogs bark at anything. They cannot understand why the dogs are allowed on the stoep whilst they are not. A long feather duster seems to work best at chasing them off (we like to think that they think it is a hungry raptor). And then we have noticed the dogs eating the birdseed we put out for the guinea fowl and the dogs eating grass when the guineas are grazing...

Wishing you the best for a slower and more mindful 2011

Mark and Tamar

See the latest prints from The Artists' Press