MEET! an new regular posting idea for my blog! as often as I can I will interview an artist of interest and share with you their wonderful work and working practice....
I dont know about you but I am always interested to read about how other people manage their practice and balance their creative lives, I hope these posts to be informative and enjoyable. if anyone has any suggestions of people to interview let me know or if you'd like to put your selfs forward just drop me a line xxxx
Introducing - Bridget Farmer
I'm an artist/ printmaker from and currently living in Belfast Northern Ireland. I studied art in Edinburgh but didn't discover printmaking until 2006 while traveling in Australia. I did a weekend course at the Australian Print Workshop and fell in love with the process. I've always loved drawing and feel most confident in this medium, but printmaking was a way to take my drawings further. I stayed in Australia until 2009 (I met a boy there, I was only supposed to stay for 5 months, now I've brought him back home with me!) and you can see from my work how the Australian bird life inspired me. Now I'm back home I'm working on British and Irish birds, sort of making mementos of the bird life of home, because I'm intending to move back to Australia next year.
I'd say my work is mainly linear. I love lines, always been afraid of tone and too much colour, so I stick with simple lines. I also strive to be very lose in my drawing style, often changing hands from right to left if a drawing seems to be getting too tight. These lines then translate well into the medium of etching, both dry point and acid etching. I still feel a new comer to printmaking, there's so much to learn and so many different techniques.
My main theme is birds, I'm not entirely sure why, but I always find myself wanting to draw them when I see them. They are a lovely compact shape yet still so full of character. I have branched out and made a few goats and a few dogs and I do like drawing buildings, but I always go back to birds. I found when I first arrived in Australia drawing the birds there was a great way to get to know them. They were all so exotic looking and so unfamiliar, they really inspired me!
For readers not so familiar with the process of etching you can read my 'how to prepare and etch a copper plate' and read about the printing of an etched plate here.
My art work is my full time job. Maybe foolishly I don't have a 'real' job, I don't think I would be disciplined enough to have one anymore! But since moving back to Northern Ireland I have found it difficult, it's hard to re-establish yourself, luckily I've moved back into my mum's house! These days I spend as much time as I can at the Belfast Print Workshop. It's a fantastic facility and it's great to interact with other printmakers. At the moment I'm there from about 11ish till 6ish. I love it, I'd be there all the time if I could, I have to make myself stay at home to work on an illustration job I've been asked to do. I'm illustrating an Australian poetry book, this is the second book I'm doing for the publishers and it's a great experience.
Where do you create your work?
I do have a little mini press at home, but I find the Belfast Print Workshop an easier place to work in, also I get my exercise from cycling or walking into town to the workshop. I think I need that 'going to work' start of the day to really get my head down. Ideally, when I move back to Australia I want to have a studio gallery. A place in which I have my printmaking studio at the back and a gallery at the front, I want to be able to make my work and man the gallery at the same time, not sure what to do about the ink up to the elbow hands if I have a customer, but I'll work that out later! I still feel everything is very much on hold until I move back and settle down properly, at the moment everything, including any workspace that i have, feels temporary.
Mostly just from walking around and taking everything in. Going to new places is alway inspirational, new food for my eyes. I think also just sitting down in various places and drawing as much as possible. I always draw from life, I think it gives the outcome more life to it.
How would you describe the themes present in your work
I'm never really trying to 'say' anything in my work. I just like seeing the world around me, drawing it, and making prints. I did an MFA while in Melbourne and I constantly had to give reasons for everything I did, I found it very difficult! I'm never really trying to be deep and meaningful, I just really really like drawing. I like to observe the world around me and draw it!
I have my work in a few galleries in Australia. There are some great printmaking galleries in Melbourne, Port Jackson Press, P. G. Printmaker and a lovely gallery called Bird's Gallery which my work suits quite well! I'm also in a few galleries in Northern Ireland and Ireland, The Yard, Copper Moon and the Leitrim Design House. I also sell online in my etsy shop.
I can think of the most wonderful studio if I had all the money in the world, but since I want to have my studio in Australia and I have to wait until I move back for that I can't buy it today and you stipulate 'what would you buy today' so, I've decided I would buy tickets to travel to lots of destinations offering printmaking classes and drawing holidays. I'd love to learn lithography or be taught etching by a master printmaker. I'd also buy lots of copper, nice clean shiny copper to etch with. At the moment I use the backs of other people's plates and they need LOTS of sanding down and polishing up before I can use them.