Printlink – part of Blue Star – won the Supreme Award at the 2019 Pride in Print event, held in the company's home city of Wellington, for its Oranga Tamariki Panels which were entered in the Speciality Products category.
Blue Star was the big winner on the night, its companies taking out 19 Golds at the glittering ceremony held at the TSB Arena.
The three panels produced by Printlink were printed on plywood on a Screen WS3200 UV flatbed, and gave the appearance of actual Maori carvings, with a 3D effect that had the judges having to feel for themselves that it was not. The prints came from a photo taken of the original carvings, which had been produced by inmates at Hastings jail - carvings which now hang in the Beehive.
The judges' comment was, "What a great concept and innovative use of this process. A very effective three dimensional look has been achieved using a clever technique. A stand out in the Special Products area.”
Of the winning entry which beat some stiff competition, Pride In Print judges said: “This is Kiwi as. It’s just like a sheet of plywood that you’d purchase at your local timber shop, but it’s been turned into a beautiful thing.
“The pieces should now be in a gallery somewhere with a big price tag on them, but they were simply three pieces of plywood. This is an excellent use of flatbed (press) capability, an outstanding effort to get it right, and great execution of the original brief.”
Even close up, many judges had to pass their hands over the images to satisfy themselves that they weren’t actual carvings - but a print so good it gave that illusion of a carved surface. They said an amazing amount of energy and skill had gone into making the panels what they were– a piece of art showing a beautiful carved image on a flat printed surface.
Pride in Print judge Grant Blockley said the entry was a good example of the print industry finding something new to do with a printing machine. “They’re doing some unique things using the machines they have. It’s cool.”
Blue Star Group’s Printlink has won more than 50 gold medals in the awards in the past 26 years.
Printlink general manager, Katharine Williams, said the team was thrilled for the recognition for a job they knew had been special in the first place. “It was a special and important piece for the Ministry of Social Development too, and I think they will also be absolutely thrilled by this award. We have a sample of this hanging on our wall and customers just can’t believe it is a print, not an actual carving. They have to touch it to see for themselves.”
She said the company had always been a bit pigeonholed in terms of the type of work it had done, but it had evolved into a very innovative company in the past few years. She saw this award as a recognition of that.
“There’s been a significant change in Printlink from a company that was one of New Zealand’s largest offset printers into a communications business.”
On the original awards entry sheet, Printlink’s John Harrison said it was initially suggested they present the carvings as a print on canvas. But because of the quality and meaning of the original carvings, they felt they should create something which would do the theme more justice and better replicate the 3D nature of the originals.