Tozzy Bridger AA2A placement at Solent University
Tozzy Bridger has been working at Solent University on an AA2A placement from February – June 2012. Artists Access 2 Art collages is a national scheme placing working artists into art collages to work alongside students on their own projects.
Tozzy’s project has looked at oak trees, in particular the history and cultural references as well as the natural history aspect. Tozzy has also used the time to expand her practise into the use of digital printmaking. Using the University’s large format printer Tozzy has experimented with combining digital print over laid with traditional methods such as drypoints, lino cuts and screenprints as well as using simple collage and emboss techniques.
Tozzy is showing three prints made during her time representing different aspects of the oak tree. “Quercus robur” introduces the oak using layers of imagery from vintage natural history books, in particular Sylvia Brittanica by J. G. Strutt. Some of the text layers are actual pages collaged onto the print rewarding the attentive viewer. The print is finished with beautiful Jay’s feathers, a bird known for it’s connection with oak trees, responsible for burying acorns and seeding new trees.
“Oak Butterflies” looks at the different species of butterfly that live and lay their eggs on oak trees, the new leaves providing food for caterpillars. The imagery used to make the butterflies, however, refers to the oak’s place in our culture for instance it’s popularity in pub names, The Royal Oak being the third most common pub name in England. The print also brings in imagery from signage in the New Forest.
The final print “History Oak” brings in memorable historical facts that link the tree to English history and folklore. The print shows Tozzy working in collaboration with the group of special needs adults she teaches for the community arts group Sculpt-it (www.sculptit.co.uk) as some of the leaves used are drawings made by the group. The linocut has a stylised feel of the 1930’s generation of English artists who returned to the English landscape and motifs such as oaks to make their contemporary artworks.
The work overall is a celebration of the oak tree and it’s enduring place in English culture. The imagery works on the ideas of layers, layers of information and history as well as actual layers as the print methods are combined. The prints are presented as if archive documents, to visually collate the culture of the oak tree.
The project was funded by The Arts Council.