A time of gifts – the people at Guanlan


Some photos from Guanlan Printmaking Base Shenzhen where I had the good fortune to meet impressive artists in residence and other wonderful people based at the Printmaking workshop. This must be one of the most unique printmaking bases in the world located in a scenic 300 year old Hakka village. 



Here with Rahman Mohamed, Ulrich Wolff, Teruyo Sonoyama, Harumi Sonoyama, Radka Hrabovska, Igor Baranov, Tomas Zemla and I. 


As I arrived just before the Chinese New year, I met two different groups of artists. Here with Zhao JiaChun Director of the China Printmaking Museum, Uyanga Zorig (Mongolia), David Arboloshvil (Georgia) and Catarina Braga (Portugal),


After the first day of firecrackers Lithographer David decided we needed to recycle what was remaining on the ground and so the search for unlit crackers began .

The China Printmaking Museum should be a destination on any artist tour of South China. Located only a 10 minute walk from the Printmaking Base and was a great getaway for artists in residence to ponder and study the great Print Masters. It also houses many works from the  Guanlan International Print Biennial . 

( photo credit Rhi Moxon)

It has over  four expansive floors above ground and several underground , each floor dedicated to different print disciplines. 


After the Chinese New Year the new artists arrived  from all parts of the globe. 


Artists at Work 

The printing base has four departments . Lithography, Etching, Seriography and Woodcut. 

Igor Baranov (Russia) whose main body of work is part of Ex Librus, here he inspects his offset Lithography print with Tomas Zelma (Slovakia). 


On March 8th , making the three X’s for International Women’s day on March the 8th with Radka and Teruyo (photo credit Tomas Zemla).


Rahman Mohamed’s (Malaysia)  etchings deal with deforestation and humanity’s insufficient efforts to counteract the damage.

Tomas Zelma prepares his plate for etching. His horizontal landscapes are the most hushed and quiet I have seen in a long time. http://tomaszemla.com/


My area was woodcut. Using oil colour and reductive process it was a delightful challenge to guess how the outcome of working from dark to light would work , see previous post 







Reknowned lithographer Harumi Sonoyama and his wife Teryo have been to the PrintMaking base many times. Harumi has shared his expertise with all at the base and has earned immense respect from everyone there.   St Patricks night celebration he told some stories of his early days , his application to get to Paris  in the 1970s (his few phrases of French encouraged a self proclaimed fluency). He managed to get to France and he spoke of  working in various print workshops where Picasso and Chagal would get their prints made. Harumi’s personal work focuses  on ‘almost’ monochromatic soft textile surfaces and light  and Teruyo’s imagery of inquisitive feline creatures. Harumi is the director of the Japan Print Association.  

Harumi Sonoyama website 



Head of the Printmaking Base GuoQingwen ( standing next to me in green clothing) was most helpful and patient with the various requests for materials that were made. He brought some highranking visitors to the studios showing here with VIPs and the speaker of the Shenzhen Municipal Assembly.


(photo credit Rahman Mohamed)

Ulrich Wolff examines his aquatint using a loupe . Ulrich won the 2015 Bienalle prize at the Guanlan International Printmaking Biennial. Much of his work is on urban architecture but not necessarily the precious kind .  Ulrich Wolff website  http://www.u-j-wolff.de



I guess we all have our heroes from various projects. My studio was next door to super sonic worker Radka Hrabovska (Slovakia), illusions of my being industrious were blown away as I witnessed how intensely and fast she worked.

Once she had most of her etching done she moved on to woodcut printing on paper and making traditional Chinese and Slovakian costumes clothes.



She then started to take St Patricks day  far more seriously than I and insisted on using some of those banana leaves outside our windows to make little green leprechaun hats. On the way to the canteen that day the excitement on seeing newly fallen red leaves which would play the perfect role of feathers in the hat .  






Later that night we had a party, the wonderful office staff  Patricia Zhang and Kiki Liang Hong came along with  Hua Lan (whose talents in colour mixing I mentioned in the previous post) . I was also thrilled to see woodcut technician Jiao Jianghua arrive with his young daughter and her young friend .

Of course when printers get together they pride themselves on arm strength and so the night was not going to escape without an arm wrestle. 

Here is Jiao Jianghua and Harumi Sonoyama.  

Although no one brought musical instruments, we played some music using a phone and I did manage a little dance with the young girls.

Thank you Everyone for a wonderful experience .