Centre for Visual Arts Students at the Caversham Press
Students of UKZN’s Centre for Visual Arts in Pietermaritzburg attended two workshops at The Caversham Press, under the tuition of renowned master printmaker, Mr Malcolm Christian.
The mixed groups included students in their third year of study for the Bachelor of Visual Art (BAVA) degree, as well as postgraduate candidates at honours, masters and PhD levels.
They were introduced to unusual and innovative printmaking techniques, including drypoint etching on polycarbonate, and water-based silkscreen monotypes which the students eventually assembled into (a) book format(s). According to CVA Lecturer, Dr Kathy Arbuckle, the beauty of these techniques is that they are accessible but unusual, and the way the workshops are presented allows artists with different levels of expertise to participate and produce remarkable works.
Most participants gained fresh new perspectives to guide their practice. ‘Apart from technical expertise, Malcolm has a particular gift for providing students with constructive critique in a most affirming way, which makes a visit to Caversham so worthwhile,’ said Arbuckle.
Students were excited by the new techniques and some have already started to put them into practice in the CVA’s recently refurbished printmaking studio.
It was a great privilege for the students to work with Christian, who is known for his work with some of South Africa’s most successful contemporary artists such as William Kentridge and the late Robert Hodgins. With an honorary doctorate awarded by UKZN in 2014, Christian is also known for his commitment to community art initiatives at Caversham’s various outreach programmes, and thus the UKZN art students gained on many levels. They were exposed to new techniques but also to philosophies about art making and life, in an almost spiritual environment.
The studio is housed in an abandoned (disused) church, situated among gravestones in a valley outside Howick. All these elements make it a special place to produce creative work.
Further workshops at Caversham for UKZN Visual Arts students are planned later this year.