Printmaker and budding curator Katherine Kennedy is alight after taking her 6-year-old son to see Australian snow accumulating in rare abundance at the Perisher ski resort, not far from Mt Kosciuszko.
They've been staying in a log cabin at Jindabyne, a scenic lakeside town with a view of the Snowy Mountains. It's an idyllic prelude to Kennedy returning to Waiheke Island.
Earlier this year, Kennedy took up an eight-week internship at the Waiheke Community Art Gallery, run by Linda Chalmers. "We hugged the minute we met," Kennedy says from Jindabyne. "I feel really warm towards her. I can't wait to see her again."
When Kennedy first set foot on Waiheke last summer the gallery was whirring with activity as the Headland Sculpture on the Gulf outdoor exhibition was in full swing.
"Linda's incredible," Kennedy says. "She's integral for Headland Sculpture and the whole time that's on she's hanging shows in the gallery.
She does it all with absolutely no crankiness. She's a bit of a workaholic.
"When I first arrived Linda asked: "What do you want out of this internship?"
The conversation led towards curating. Near the end of her two-month spell at the gallery Chalmers asked Kennedy if she would return to hang an exhibition. Kennedy had already imagined gathering work from a variety of Australian printmakers and it's this show, named Core, that opened yesterday.
"Print is pretty big in Australia," Kennedy explains. "I'm a student at the University of New South Wales majoring in printmaking and I'm vice-president of the Hawkesbury Printmakers, though they're not involved in this show."
Instead, many of the artists, emerging and established, are connected to the faculty at the University of NSW. The show includes some of Australia's best-loved printmakers, including Rew Hanks, whose impossibly intricate lino-cut Rabbit Pie is one of the highlights. "When somebody thinks of an artist they think of a painter," Kennedy laments.
Yet printmakers have their own traditions and language. The "matrix", or the physical surface that does the printing, can be formed from almost endless sources. Sometimes ink is pushed through a silk screen, or it could be stamped on to the "substrate", the medium that takes the print. Perhaps the printmaker has employed one of a myriad metal etching techniques, which can be further complicated by combining layers of textured material on a single plate to form a collograph, a kind of composite image.
It's these arcane processes that find printmakers often clubbed together with other craft workers, although these methods also help bond printmakers across the Tasman into a tight-knit band pushing the boundaries of what's possible within the curious limits of their discipline.
Kennedy's Core exhibition serves as a seductive and personal introduction to this special community of artists.
It is also a superb excuse to visit one of the Hauraki Gulf's outstanding institutions - the Waiheke Island Community Gallery, where this selection of work will hang until August 17.