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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.

A Bit of Belfast

What a few days! I've been to birthday parties, weddings, well, one of each. But I've had a full packed few days back home in Belfast and in Glasgow, catching up with friends and family. Here are a few photos of back home.