RA Smart creates ‘incredible colours’ for Rivers of the World

Print Solutions

RA Smart has used an HP Stitch S1000 digital textile printing system to produce artworks for the Thames Festival Trust – output that impressed artist Shona Watt with its ‘amazing details’ and ‘incredible colours’.

Led by Shona Watt, the Trust's Rivers of the World education programme sees UK secondary school children partner with schools in countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Morocco, Tanzania, Lebanon and India. In the first half of each two year programme the pupils study the river in their home city; in their second part they learn about their partner school’s nearest major river. Based on themes including River of Life, Working River and Polluted River, the students work together to create artworks that Shona combines into a single piece per school.

In other years the Rivers of the World pieces were printed onto rigid boards for public display, but for 2020, inspired by previous work using flags as her medium, Shona commissioned RA Smart to print six flags using the HP Stitch.

Shona said, ‘Digital printing creates such brilliant detail. I had never seen that before we saw the samples from RA Smart. The colours are incredible.

‘Printed on boards, art pieces look the same as on a computer screen, but on flags the colour is on both sides, the light comes through and there is movement. I will have to use digital printing for flags in my own work!’

The Rivers of the World exhibition, comprising flags and display boards, was held on the Thames walkway outside the Tate Modern gallery in London in September.

‘Seeing their work on display was a big deal for the students, many of whom had never seen the Thames in central London before,’ added Shona. ‘The Rivers of the World programme is very different to how art is taught on the curriculum so getting kids interested in art this way is really positive.’

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