Encounter with Santander

Exchange with Marta

Marta Allande-Valledor lives in Santander. She is an Art  student currently doing her Masters in Poland. Marta and I communicated by email over the summer. She sent images of  beautiful fish prints on delicate paper. I sent her images of the takuhon process.

I also sent a favourite fish recipe which Marta said went well with her salmon prints!

Marta came to join us at the Centre Cazona and allowed us to put up

her prints on display with other exhibits from our other connections we made.



Marta may some day come to continue to study in Plymouth College of Art. Thank you Marta for participating in  the Impact  10 project and  our exhibition. Thank you also for  coming to help take things down on the last day!

Exchange with Belen Barandica

Belen Barandica lives and teaches in Santander.  Over the summer  months leading up to our visit, Belen and I exchanged images of interest to both of us via the internet.  Belen initially sent me a print of an antique plate that had belonged to here grandmother, in return I sent her prints of food items sustainably grow in my garden.


When we met during Impact 10 Belen showed me example of the work she does with her  pupils and explained how she teaches them using Digital means (Nintendo’s).

During our exhibition Belen presented us with a beautiful set of prints made some of her pupils;  Thank you Belen, we look forward to displaying  the prints at PCA.


Biennial Mini-print exhibition

Three of us had prints exhibited at the Miniprint exhibition. Solidarity to the end, the Ailleurs group walked miles along the coast to visit the exhibition which was at Centro Arte Faro Cabo Mayor. It was a lighthouse with exhibition space attached. The space was good with a view out to sea. On leaving the port at night on our last day, the lighthouse was flashing. It was good to think of all that we had done and left behind in our encounters with people. Such a wealth of memories, conversation, exchanged gifts and stories. And a small extra in our three tiny prints left hanging in the Lighthouse space.



It is only now that we have returned home to the UK that we will have time to reflect on the wonderful experience that was Impact 10.

The  Ailleurs 2 project has been very hard work but we have gained so much from our encounters.  Thank you to all who took part and exchanged with us; hopefully we have shown how art can be interactive and exclusive.


On reflection the entire project  demonstrated a  collaborative art event in its truest sense. We are all artists in our own right, with different art skills and strong ideas about the process of art. Many of us had not used the Taku-hon technique of printing before we applied to go to Santander.  During this week we worked non stop. We split into groups to share tasks: hunting for materials, networking, printing at the venue, thinkers and dreamers, communicators and so on. We all,  in our different ways, networked throughout the day and night. inviting Santander residents and Impact 10 Delegates to the Potluck celebratory meal.

There are so many texts which analyse the nature and effectiveness of collaborative art practice. Reading is one thing but it has been a tough process in practice, letting go of the self, and becoming part of the collective whole. We have in different ways experienced some bruising of the artist ego. As Charles Green writes in The Third Hand , collaboration in art from Conceptualism to Postmodernism 2001,  a collaboration is the practice of ‘subjugating the individual signature’ which ‘is a paradigmatic interrogation of artistic production’. (p. xv)

Collaborations and collectives incorporate a modification of authorship. Our individual prints have been overlaid by other prints, our ideas overlaid by other ideas until eventually the surface of  the table cloth, the actual whole process of the final event was  proof of the phrase  ‘more than the sum of its parts’.

Richard Sennett analyses cooperative art practice in Together, The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of cooperation, 2013. He outlines the dynamic nature of group interaction .  It was that and more in this Impact 10 project. We shared  skills, knowledge and ideas, and,  at the same time looked out for  each other. This generated a high level of energy  and creativity.  Whilst we talked and discussed it seemed that many ideas were abandoned and dropped to the ground. But each idea led to another set of ideas which grew out of the first and so on. As we altered and adapted our points of view something new was forming.  The week culminated in a product ( the exhibition space filled with prints) , and an event ( the potluck celebration) which involved genuine shared authorship. It was a tremendous experience, thank you for making it possible!




Takuhoning the streets of Santander.

Today we were utilising some fabulous paper samples to print the streets of Santander.

In another part of the city three of us set off along the Santander coast to Secunda playa de El Sardinero armed with some samples of the Moriki Japanese paper and our favourite tampos. (We all made a set of tampos at the college using cotton or sheep’s wool, silk and string.)

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It was  a real treat to use this soft malleable creamy Japanese paper. It is strong yet  moulded itself around the objects when dampened. j-4

We tested the paper on the rock surfaces on the beach with swirling strata.


Samphire was growing amongst the rocks . This too offered potential for printing.

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We found the Santander drain cover with the image that is repeated across Santander. There are slight differences in the design in different districts.

This one had been partly covered with road tartmac.  A small tourist train passed every 5 minutes and thoughtfully avoided the prints. Also people in cars from time to time. Though it was mainly a pedestrian pathway.


The ship and castle are perfect symbols for Sandander.

We printed on. As Judy was printing a man on a bike stopped and took great interest. We gave him the Blog address. As we left he was still taking photos of the drain cover. Perhaps this encounter had given him a new impression of his own city and something he had cycled passed each day.