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Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Finally, after 36 hours labour my sister in law gave birth to a son. My brother phoned me late last night and I could hear him in the background! I'm an auntie!

Finally, I have found my camera charger. I found it in a broken bag behind our clothes rack while I was looking for wool to make a blanket for my new nephew!

Finally, I have my new press up and running. I just need to get to know it a bit better before I can start on the real stuff, there are a few things I need to iron out first.

And finally, I'm getting these images loaded up onto etsy and my blog. Here's the Crested Pigeon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Exciting News

A few more hiccups before I'm truly back at my blog! I had a few weeks where I thought this computer had died, but it seems to be working again without me doing anything to it! Another hindrance is I can't locate my camera recharger, so I've having to scan everything in and I have a very substandard scanner!

I have decided to finally upload images of some of my scholarship etchings that I did while at Australian Print Workshop the past year. These are the etchings included in my recent exhibition at APW which finished on the 20th December. I have now added these two below to my 'bridgetfarmerprints' etsy shop.
So, what is my exciting news? Well, I have two pieces of news. As I type, my sister in law is in labour with the first baby of our immediate family. They are in Belfast and I am in Melbourne, so I've been kept up to date by my brother with texts. I'm sending them lots of good thoughts!

My other news is that I've bitten the bullet and finally, actually bought myself a printing press. So I'll be printing away whenever I want now. I can't wait to get it all set up and working. I'd take a photo of it to show, but as I said, I can't find my camera battery charger and it would be a bit too difficult to scan!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm Back!

Hooray, we have Internet in our home! No more trips to the library or sneaky posts while at work. I've so much catching up to do because I've been making lots of things since I had so much more time due to not being able to work on the computer!

OK, I'll start today with the new bird prints I've been making.

I was very busy last week because I wanted to get some new gocco prints out for all the markets I'm doing in the run up to Christmas. You can find me as usual at Rose Street Artist's Market every Saturday and at the Abbotsford Convent Makers Market for the next few Sundays. Also I'm doing Northcote Twilight Market at Northcote Town Hall Thursday nights 6 till 10. This is a lovely little market and I just love the cycle up that great big hill every Thursday!

So, here are the new gocco prints, this is a New Holland Honeyeater. I often get asked if I have any prints of this bird and now I do!

And these two little birds are Australian Robins. I thought since robins are Christmassy back home in the UK, I'd try a few Australian ones. The top one is an Eastern Yellow Robin and the bottom one is a Flame Robin.
And of course, no prizes for this one, a Laughing Kookaburra. I heard one from our living room in our new house earlier this week. They sound fantastic!

To read more about how these gocco prints are made see my tutorial blog post on the subject.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

We Have a Winner!

It's been a while since my last post, this is due to not having internet available. After moving out of our previous place I've been living with my boyfriend's friends in their living room for the first two weeks which was an experience. One good thing about it was that their cat was adament that it was going to sleep on our sofa bed and Jeremy's allergies subsided slightly, so there is hope yet of owning a lovely cat one day in the future!

All this while I've been battling it out with very small children in libraries for the use of computers. It gets a bit upsetting when you are there to look through for a place to live and you have to wait for a crowd of children to stop playing computer games. But maybe my annoyance was just because of my stress levels and desparation to sleep in a normal bed.

Now we have found a lovely lovely house, I think it's the best place in Melbourne! Unfortuneatly it's going to be demolished in 9 months, but we're going to make the most of it in that time. We still have no internet but that is on it's way. Also we need to work out why the shower only has two temperatures - scalding hot or freezing cold, as well as why we can't get electricity in the studio room. But it's coming together nicely.

But the main reason I'm posting is because we have a winner for the November blog giveaway! The winner is Feed The Dog who has had a run of bad luck lately so I hope this will cheer her up. She chose "Circle Blue" as her favourite and it will be flying its way to her in time for Christmas.

For some reason on this computer I can neither add images nor spell check, so my appologies for such a dull looking, badly spelt post. Hopefully soon I will be back in order and able to post from home.

Friday, November 14, 2008


This is my 100th post on my blog and it coincides beautifully with what I am going to post about!

Since May until September this year I have been working on illustrations for a poetry book called '100 Australian Poems You Need To Know" for Hardie Grant Publishers. The book has poems from all through Australia's history and I really enjoyed reading them all when starting out the project because I knew very little Australian poetry to start with.

Yesterday, in the post, I finally received my copy of the book and it is lovely, a really beautiful object even before you've even opened it! Well designed, well put together, great poems and as for the illustrations, well, for me it was quite strange to see all my drawings and etchings in there, but very satisfying.

The book will be available from 1st December, I'm not sure where from yet, I'm trying to find out myself because most of my family will be getting a copy for Christmas!

I've found a review for the book here and info about it on readings website here and I've found a site where you can pre-order a copy here .

Tomorrow we move out of our house, but unfortunately, due to things out of our control (because real estate agents are supposedly in control, but not doing a very good job) we have nowhere to move into. Homeless! So if you see Jeremy and I walking the streets in the next few weeks please invite us in for a drink and a friendly chat, thanks!

Don't forget to enter my blog give away competition!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bridget's November Giveaway!

I should be cleaning and scrubbing and packing up our flat, we are moving this weekend (as long as the real estate agents get back to us to let us know if we have our new house, we're cutting it fine here!)
My kitchen is chaotic with half filled boxes everywhere and dirty dishes.The bathroom is clean from waist height up but I haven't quite got down to the bath and sink etc. and our living room is chockablock with cardboard boxes, so much so that I can't get to the skirting boards to scrub or the floor to vacuum.
So I decided to have a rest and I came up with a giveaway idea!

You could win the Featherstitch Fantail, 100% natural wool, 100% hand embroidered brooch of your choice! All you have to do is let me know which your favourite design is on the Featherstitch Fantail website by leaving a comment on your chosen brooch. I will pick the winner at random at the start of December and then make the brooch and send it to the winner.
Good luck!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Kate Hudson

I'm very excited! I did a print swap with Kate Hudson, not the Kate Hudson, actress, but the Kate Hudson, Melbourne printmaker. She decided she wanted one of my bird etchings from my exhibition and since we know each other from Australian Print Workshop she got in contact with me and asked if I would be interested in a swap. "Would I ever!!!" I replied, I've been wanting one of her prints for a very long time, and, so, last Wednesday she brought in her gorgeous portfolio and I got to choose one. I really thought I'd choose one of her lovely bird prints, but I fell in love with this one. I love the colours in it and can't wait to move house, get it framed and put it in pride of place on my new wall!

The red table cloth in the print reminds me of a beautiful throw I found in my Mum's old chest, I claimed it years ago and still have it in our bedroom here in Melbourne. When I was a student in Edinburgh my granny came over to visit and she saw the lovely red throw in my bedroom and she said, 'oh, look, it's that lovely throw my mother bought while she was in Turkey!" So, it turns out it's a bit of an antique! I've always had a taste for lovely old things.

Here are a few more featherstitch fantail brooches I finished off last night while watching a lovely, if a little strange, true film about a lion called Christian who was bought as a cub in Harrods department store in London by two Australian guys and his journey to rehabilitation and freedom in Kenya. There is a lovely scene near the end in which the two Australians are coming back to visit Christian after a year, they are told he is a semi wild animal now and probably wont remember them. It is all filmed as it happened and Christian's reaction and their reunion is one of the most beautiful things I have ever ever seen on film. I've actually found the scene on youtube, have a look!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Feather In Your Hat

I've been stitching and stitching trying to get ready for Christmas. I've started making more of my fantail hat/ lapel pins since they seemed popular at market last weekend. They are made up of the same layering and hand sewn embroidery as the Featherstitch Fantail brooches with hand felted balls to embellish!

I'm also happy because I have finally sorted out my packaging for my brooches. I bought myself a rubber stamp of my "Bridbird" label and I found the most perfect little boxes, in a $2 shop would you believe! Unfortunately the shop has now run out of boxes but I think I may have found a (very cheap) supplier online. I've given them my card details and now waiting to see if anything arrives! Hope they come soon, fingers crossed they come at all!

I've added more brooches onto my Featherstitch Fantail sight too!

Monday, November 3, 2008


While I was away last month my friend Andrea was looking after my stall at Rose Street Artists' Market. She also makes things and had her own work at the stall too. Now I am back we've decided to keep sharing the stall. So I thought I'd show a bit of Andrea's work.

Andrea makes jewellery out of old wooden jigsaws. The jigsaw pieces have their original image on the back and the front is covered with beautiful decorative paper then laquered with resin. They are prooving very popular!


Earring and necklace set


I have also listed more brooches on my Featherstitch Fantail website I'm trying to get lots made for the Christmas rush. Have a look and order early if you any take your fancy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Be a Tourist In Your Own Town

A bee in a blossoming tee tree at Collingwood Station

A friend of mine has come to Australia for a visit and we did lots of touristy things today. Lots of things that even I had never done before. It's a shame that it takes someone else to arrive for you to explore the city you live in. I found that a lot of the things we did were probably more interesting for me because I did live here, for example we went to the Rialto Tower that is 88 stories high and has a viewing deck. It was brilliant working out where I lived, where my old house was, where Fitzroys is and how long Lygon Street goes on for! Then we went to the City Museum which had lots of old photographs and old films of how Melbourne used to look. As I said, probably a lot more interesting for me than for my friend. So if you live in Melbourne take the time and go to these places, they're great!

Views of Melbourne from the viewing deck at the Rialto Tower

A lovely poppy in the Fitzroy Gardens. I love poppies.

I then decided when I got home to go down to the Abbotsford Convent and draw. I'm feeling a bit sad that Jeremy and I will soon be leaving Abbotsford and moving across town in mid November. Abbotsford is such a lovely suburb with the Convent grounds, the River Yarra, the Collingwood Childrens' Farm, I wanted to make the most of it on this lovely day!

Abbotsford Convent, continuous line drawing, left hand

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Etsy Sale Prices

Are you an Etsy shopper? Are you Australian and finding it too expensive to shop on Etsy anymore with the fall of the Australian dollar? Well, I've decided to amend my etsy prices for the time being in my Bridbird shop. Kind of like a SALE! All my small gocco screenprints are now $11 US from $16 US.

I have also changed my prices for my BridgetFarmerPrints Etsy shop. This needed to be done to keep my etching prices consistent with the gallery prices. I can't charge more than the galleries do for my work!!

All small Australian native bird etching $65 US from $82

My exhibition opening at the Australian Print Workshop went very well yesterday. Thankyou to everyone who came along. Here are a few photos of my work before the opening. The exhibition continues until 20th December so there is lots of time to look in if you are in the Fitzroy area.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Melbourne Houses

After waking up this morning having dreamt that I'd slept in and missed my exhibition, which is opening tomorrow, I decided I needed to make the most of the day.

So, I found a new outlet that sells good paper bags, I finished mounting my screenprints and I managed to make a new gocco print. All in time for Rose Street Artists' Market tomorrow.My new gocco print is a two screen print of Melbourne Houses. I went drawing yesterday with a friend and we ended up sitting at the side of the road in the sun and dust drawing the gorgeous Victorian houses that are typical of Melbourne. I want to do a series of Melbourne Houses, I'll have this one with me tomorrow at Rose Street.

We were also drawing in the cemetery yesterday. This is a continuous line left handed drawing. I like drawing with my left hand, even though I'm right handed, I find it loosens me up and I look more carefully at the subject.

Now Jeremy and I are going out for dinner. My lovely brother and sister-in-law booked my favourite restaurant (Wabi-Sabi) from Belfast and even gave us dollars for our evening! Yum yum yum!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Observatory, Exhibition of Scholarship Work

This Saturday (25th October) is the opening of my scholarship exhibition at the Australian Print Workshop on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. There are three of us who were awarded the printmakers scholarship this year - Elaine Chew and Matthew Roberts and me. You can see our work (and have a glass of wine) from 2 till 4. The exhibition runs until 20th December, so if you can't make the opening there is plenty of time to pop by.


Observatory, an exhibition featuring limited edition etchings by 2008 scholarship recipients Elaine Chew, Bridget Farmer and Matthew Roberts, invites the viewer to explore a world filled with the natural, the treasured and the symbolic.

Elaine Chew’s work explores cultural traditions of superstition and spiritualism. Drawing from the rituals and customs of her peers and relatives, she looks at the way different cultures imbue the everyday world with the spiritual.

Elaine’s suite of etchings in Observatory investigates ideas of amulets and talismans from a personal and intimate perspective, drawing from a history of symbols used to promote good luck, to ward off evil and to offer protection from ill health and jinxes.

Her images form imagined stellar constellations that reflect the idea of the past, the future and the human search for meaning in the unknown. They are personal symbols of longing, commemoration, loss and hope, and a reminder of the unity of all things.

Elaine Chew completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Printmaking in 2006. In 2007 she received the Janet Holmes a Court Artists’ Grant courtesy of the National Association for the Visual Arts. In 2006 she was awarded the Arts Law Centre of Australia Print Commission and her work was acquired in the Silk Cut Award.

Bridget Farmer’s work has developed through an interest in the native bird life of Australia and the idea of documenting new discoveries. Upon her arrival in Australia, the U.K. born artist was astonished by the extent and range of bird life, most of which she could not name or recognise.

Her fascination in the early paintings, drawings and prints of Australian birds inspired Bridget to speculate about the experience of Western explorers and settlers of Australia when they first came across new and different birds and began to document them.

Over the years Bridget has drawn, studied and depicted these birds in her limited edition prints. Utilising the opportunities provided by her scholarship at APW, Bridget’s suite of etchings in Observatory show her recent experimentation with aquatint, spit bite, soft ground, sugar lift and multi plate etching.

In 2007 Bridget completed a Master of Fine Art (Printmaking) following Undergraduate and Post Graduate studies in Design and Applied Art at the Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, UK.

Matthew Roberts’ exquisitely rendered etchings counterbalance his subject matters' suggested absence of location with seductively refined detail. Realist in their portrayal of his subject the Black Swan, his plates resonate with the tell tale marks and scratches of the etched medium. His forms dissolve into their subtle textural backdrops.

Matthew’s interest in the Black Swan suggests his personal identification with Australia. Having relocated often during his youth, Matthew identifies with the swan as a nomadic creature – one that could be found in many lands and habitats, happily integrated into new worlds, but whose origins, or ‘homeland’ was in Australia. The simple pleasure of studying the swan’s curious form and transforming this into an experiential drawing process through hard ground etchings has fascinated Matthew since he began making limited edition prints in 2003.

Matthew graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Printmaking) in 2007. In 2003 he completed a lithography course at Australian Print Workshop. In 2007 he was the recipient of the George Alexander Foundation Grant.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A New Skill Learnt

While I was in London staying with my friend Natalie she showed me how to felt. We made a number of felt balls and I got very excited with the possibilities that could be made from these. She also very kindly gave me a little bag of coloured wool to take back to Australia with me to keep on practicing and playing. So I have been waking up at silly hours (damned jet lag!) and going into the kitchen and rolling coloured wool in soapy hands. It's quite time consuming and after asking Jeremy to try and make one (his is the pale yellow ball that I have sewn green 'x's on) he's sure there must be a quicker way. Each time he sees me rolling rolling soapy wool he say it, "there must be a quicker way, there must be!" Men, always trying to invent faster ways of doing things! But I'm quite content at this stage to continue making them slowly.

I have experimented with stitching patterns into the felt balls and I bought a number of hat pin pins. I've always liked these pins. I have also played about with using my fantail birds in this hat pin form, I even sold one at the Convent Makers Market on Sunday.
I'm considering making a 'how to' post on making felt balls, but I think I need assistance to take photos because my hands get so wet and soapy, might not be good for the camera! Maybe while Jeremy is thinking about his felt ball making machine he can take photos of me in action for the next post!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Love for a Cup

Well, I'm back in the gorgeous smelling, warm aired, bright sunlit land of Melbourne after 3 weeks in the UK. Most of the time I spent in Belfast visiting family and then the last four days I spent in London. Most of my friends have drifted down to London now so it's a good catch up. Although, London tires me out, so I always decide four days is long enough.

While I was in London I went to Origin, the applied arts fair. It is on for 2 weeks in October and many of my arty friends have stalls, so again, it is a good place for me to visit and see everyone.

At Origin I fell hopelessly in love with Sue Binns pottery. I kept coming back to her stall and in the end, even though my suitcases were full, I decided I had to buy something and bring it home to Australia. I decided upon the most gorgeous pair of cups and I don't regret my decision for an instant (even though Australian dollar against the pound made them quite a lot of money!) Every time I catch a glance of them I am filled with delight. I think it is important to buy things that bring you so much joy!

I am also adding a number of new websites to my list of artists I admire. Have a look at them, their work is beautiful. They include :-
*my very good friend Adele Brereton who makes delicate hand raised silver jewellery. (if I ever get married I want her to make my wedding ring!!)
*Cathy Miles, who makes incredibly lovely wire birds and other objects. I was drawn to her work because I used to make a lot of wire object, including birds ( of course!)
*Helen Beard, who I went to my foundation art course with in Liverpool. She makes gorgeous hand thrown ceramics and adorns them with hand drawn figures, flowers and trees.
*Teresa Green, who screen prints onto fabrics and creates delightful garments and bags from them. My friend Alison McLeod (jeweller) has one of her purses and it gets commented on all the time!

Now, after seeing so many inspirational things I want to get down to making making making!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Trip Down South

I popped down to the south of Ireland for the last few days, to Co. Leitrim and Co. Donegal. One of my best friends now lives in Leitrim and she and I drove up to Donegal where we have both had many childhood holidays. It's just beautiful, made all the more so by the most wonderful little black dog called Duffy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Travel Sketchbook

Unfortunately I don't have my scanner with me (there wasn't really enough room in my suitcase), so I have to take photos of my drawings. They haven't turned out very well, but I thought I'd post them up anyway. They are pages from my sketchbook that I drew to pass the time while I was on the train, plane and boat.