Documentary photos of our ‘Surface Active Art-to-Wear’ auto design and printmaking work method shot in 1995
Surface Active was an auto-printmaking, craft and design business established in 1986 by Chrissie Terpstra and Shaun Waugh. Our continuing aim as Surface Active was to celebrate wonderful, natural New Zealand—the featured creatures in our range are unique and beautiful and we try to convey something of their preciousness with our art & craft.
How did we do it? Hours spent at the drawing board, artfully rendering each separate colour to give vibrancy and detail (Shaun). Crafty low-tech, hand-pulled screenprinting techniques allowed us to create finely detailed designs, brought to life on the garment (Chrissie)—wild art to wear.
We used quality, pure cotton garments, locally manufactured in Canterbury. Ours was a 100% kiwi-made product and, given the right treatment, lasted for years.
The letter below, written by Chrissie best introduces this portfolio that chronicles one of the more complex Surface Active wildlife art designs from the drawing board to screenprinted garment.
Dear Surface Dweller,
what began 6 years ago as a printing hobby on the kitchen table has now expanded to encompass the lounge, spare bedroom, laundry, garage and the whole of the back shed.
We are committed to producing original & indigenous designs of the highest design and printing standards, providing a more interesting and beautiful product than your average tee—wearable art that celebrates the unique assets of New Zealand.
Using our Flat Earth, Low Tech printing hardware, we have painstakingly perfected our craft, printing 6 colour blends and finely detailed designs like no other can (or will). They take a bit longer to produce but the results are worth it. We are proud to be using high quality locally manufactured garments.
The overwhelming encouragement we receive from our customers tells us that we must be doing it right.
Year-round you can find Surface Active at the the Christchurch Arts Centre Market (open Sat. & Sun.), we wholesale to selected shops from North Cape to Bluff and now in our Glorious Technicolour Mail Order Catalogue, we present you the fruits of our labour.
Shaun Waugh (Boss)
Chrissie Terpstra (Bossier)
This portfolio is a work in progress, please visit again…
Documentary Photos: Thanks to a young woman, student of Fine Arts at Ilam, University of Canterbury
Crafty screenprinters: Deborah McDonald, Chrissie Terpstra
Gecko Illustration reference photos: Rod Morris