Friday, March 18, 2011

Featured Artist

Bridget Farmer
Bridget Farmer discovered printmaking while taking a weekend course in etching at the Austrailian Print Workshop in Melbourne, in early 2006.  She is a native of Northern Ireland and had previously attained a degrees with First Class Honours in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art.  Later, Bridget pursued an MFA in printmaking at RMIT, Melbourne and she has since been awarded a High Commendation in the Port Jackson Press Graduate Printmaking Award and received a 2008 Australian Print Workshop Collie Print Trust Emerging Printmaker ScholarshipBirds are a recurring theme in her work.  She describes herself as an observer of the world and her drawings and prints are a way of documenting these observations.
Pied Currawong, Sugar Lift Etching, 12.5 x 33 cm, Bridget Farmer, 2008
Why do you think you found yourself more drawn to etching than your initial artistic pursuits in jewelry making?
    I started out in Jewelery and Silversmithing because I loved working in metal and it seemed the right direction to go in, but I ended up not enjoying the precision of jewelery. I'm a messy worker, loose lines and I like results quickly, otherwise I feel I over work things and they loose the spontaneity.
    A very important part of the degree was our portfolio work. A body of work made up of drawings and experimental mark making. I loved doing the portfolio part of the course but just didn't know how to make it my main work. Printmaking was always suggested to me, but for some reason I was blinkered and only thought of screen printing which I didn't really enjoy.
When I discovered etching I found a medium that encompassed my love of drawing and my love of working with metal. It was perfect for me!
Australian Crows, Etching, 10 x 15.5 cm, Bridget Farmer, 2009
Have you developed favorites among the birds you observe to draw and print?
     I jump around quite a bit with my favorites. It's almost like I have a bird of the month or something! I always love crows and Australian magpies. At the moment it's finches. I've just finished a series of dry point finches, I'd like to do a whole finch flock! When I was living in Australia I made all Australian birds. At the moment I'm living in Northern Ireland for a couple of years and I'm concentrating on birds from here. When I move back to Australia in September I'll probably start on Australian birds again. I am quite influenced by my surroundings.
Robin, Etching, 16.5 x 10.5 cm, Bridget Farmer, 2010
Please share a bit about your Camda Etsy shop project.     
       In 2001 I went to Mongolia and oh my goodness, what a place! I fell in love with it and have been interested in the country and it's people ever since. Last winter I saw a very sad film clip about a recent zdud (extremely harsh winter conditions that happen every so often) that was killing vast numbers of the nomadic herders' livestock and leaving the people without a livelihood, forcing them to abandon their way of life. I discovered a charity based in Cambridge, England, called CAMDA (Cambridge Mongolia Development Appeal).  They raise money to help buy fodder for the livestock and send out vets and vital supplies. I donated money at the time but felt I wanted to do more. So recently I made three new etchings, based on my drawings I did when I was there. I spoke with Bill Munns, one of the organizers of CAMDA, and we decided the best way to raise money from these pieces was to open an Etsy shop and sell online. So they are up and selling well and I now have cards made from the etchings that I'm listing too. I'm also asking other artists and printmakers to donate pieces to this etsy shop, I think it'll be an on going project and hopefully raise lots for CAMDA.
Mongolian Horse II, Etching, 7 x 9 cm, Bridget Farmer, 2011
Sincere thanks to Bridget for sharing her beautiful prints and for her fantastic work with CAMDA.  I hope that does print a whole flock of finches one day!

What do you think of Bridget's prints?
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