The Great Hall - Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

The Discovery Museum’s Great Hall was the setting for The Northern Print Biennale residency during the summer of 2009. Julian creatied an image of a Blue Whale across 25 woodblocks made from 5 × 1 Metre Elm planks. Visitors watched the process and participated in printing activities, talks and events.

The Northern Print Biennale International Printmaking and Events took place across Newcastle – Gateshead – from June to October 2009. More information here
More information about the Discovery Museum here

Julian’s residency was open to the public until 29th August 2009. Events: Mon/Wed/Fri 10.30am-12.30pm and 2-4pm. Free Entry.


The Blue Whale

I am printing the Blue Whale at the moment and have made three prints that are currently hanging in the hall. Each one takes a full day to complete and I expect to have finished five by the end of the residency. The Whale will be created from 25 Elm planks from a tree brought from Alnwick, Northumberland, ten years ago. This is the biggest woodcut print I have produced and the Elm is virtually extinct in Northumberland.

Every thing on the floor in the Great Hall will be dismantled this weekend and reassembled in a different configuration for the final week.


Photographs and video

There is a continuous image presentation running throught the residency showing photographs from the work in-progress and a short film of Julian’s work. Richard Urbanski will be filming the Blue Whale being printed and video clips will be added to the show and web gallery. Watch this space……


Dabu Whale

During the participation events in the third week of the residency we created a whale from collection of small fish. It was printed using a mud resist technique on a textile floor panel. The whale can be seen in the Great Hall until the last week of August. It will then be dyed using a natural plant indigo dye and presented the the Discovery Museum.



Read by Skye Meredith and Christine Watkins



The story of Skid and The Starshark is told during a break in printmaking activities.


Creatures deep and high

As a great whale takes shape, voices, echoes and fragments of stories begin to accrue.
Back in Herefordshire we work with reflections, images, connections for the ongoing work in the Great Hall.

Sketches of a soundscape start to slip into place. In the distance, the Dauber works far out at sea and high in the rigging, slushing his hands to get off the painted traces.
Deep in the water something hidden heaves, surges, sinks again…

A noise like one slow wave on a still beach.

Christine Watkins 11 August,


Julian has now become Jonah

After a long week in the Great Hall of the Discovery Museum, a gaint ex-dining hall that feels like being inside a whales ribs. Progress on the 25 elm planks has been slow but regular. they are now properly measured, aligned and drawn on, they have been marked out in blue to preserve them and to stop them drying out and twisting. Now comes the smoothing out of the bandsaw marks along the exterior of the whale.

After two days with a cabinet scraper he has completed two planks starting from the head. Starting this Friday the children who have been participating by doing their own prints of a series of woodcut fish are now able to participate in a mud resit print on a textile.


Work in progress at The Discovery Museum's Great Hall

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