Monday 11 January 2010

Introducing Bridget Farmer

Hi I'm Bridget and I'm currently living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I grew up in Belfast but I've been away in Scotland and Australia for the past ten years so it's lovely to be part of the Irish etsy team now that I'm back!

I have three shops on etsy. One is my bridbird shop in which I sell digital prints of kitchen themed pen and ink drawings. 

I started making these images because my mum, who owns a lovely restaurant in Holywood, Co. Down, decided she wanted to write a cook book and asked me to do the illustrations. She's now on to her second cook book in which both these images were included.

My other two shops are what I call my 'more serious work' they are BridgetFarmerPrints andBridgetFarmerBooks. While I was in Australia I discovered printmaking. Real printmaking, with a big printing press, an acid bath for etching your plates and really thick messy ink! I loved it!

You see, I had studied Jewellery and Silversmithing for my degree in Edinburgh, but just never felt it was what I was meant to do, so when I found printmaking it was a wonderful realisation. I had been waiting to find this medium all along!

Me happy to have found printmaking, at the Australian Print Workshop in Melbourne. Photo by Carla Gottgens 

I've always liked birds, they seem to be a recurring theme in my work. Especially while I was in Australia because there were so many strange and exotic looking birds there. I drank them in, thirsty for information about them all. I spent a lot of time sketching them and drawing stuffed specimens at Melbourne museum. I always like to work from life, rather than from photos, I feel this give more life and movement to the results. Printmaking became my way of exploring the birdlife in Australia. 
Now that I'm home I have a renewed interest in Irish birds. I'm mainly focusing on them now. I've just bought lots of bird food and feeders and I sit eating my breakfast in the mornings, looking out the window at all the tits, black birds, robin and yesterday I figured out what I thought was just a female sparrow was in fact a dunnock, I'm very excited about this as I'm sure you can understand!!?!

Sketchbook page of pencil drawings of Seagulls

I have gradually learnt more printmaking techniques, using the facilities at the print workshop in Australia and now in Belfast and from a lot of help from other users. I've always found etsy a very friendly place, full of people who are willing to help others and the print workshops are just the same. If you are interested in printmaking and know of a print workshop in your area you should definitely go and have a look!

Pied Currawong, Sugar Lift Etching

Although I say I've learnt many printmaking techniques I still feel quite a novice and there is so much more to learn. The processes are all quite lengthy so I find it difficult to experiment as much as I should. I'm quite interested in looking further into non toxic printmaking. My dream is to one day build an eco house out of straw bales. How could I possibly have a green eco house, but then have a studio full of noxious substances?! So I need to research that.

Another passion of mine is making books. My books range from photocopied and stapled zines to precious hand bound artist books containing original etchings. I've only just opened myBridgetFarmerBooks shop so I don't have very much in it at present, but I'm very excited about it and looking forward to filling its shelves. These books will contain mainly images in the form of my drawings and etchings, I'm not so much of a writer, although I'd be very interested in collaborating if any writers are interested!

Just to prove that occasionally I do branch out into other subject matter here is a book of digital prints of drawings I made of goats. I do love goats, and as the title say, who doesn't? 

You can see more of my drawings and some of the processes involved in printmaking on my blog and more of my etchings on my I'm now getting a bit embarrassed by my repetition of my name here, so I shall say farewell for now and thanks for reading.


  1. great post Bridget! I love the variety of your work and the books look really special. Whats your Mums cookbook??? feel free to plug it for her! ;D

  2. thanks Tanya!
    My mum's cook book is called The Bay Tree Book and the other is The Red Bay Tree Book. You can only get them through her restaurant - The Bay Tree, but it's well worth a trip up north to visit. Her cinnamon scones are famous!
    I've made a link in this post to her website if you want to check it out!

  3. I just love your stuff Bridget! it's really unique and so beautiful! you set the bar high for the rest of us!

  4. I love your seagulls - are prints colourfast enough to make things like cushions? I suddenly have a vision of a beautiful white sofa covered with soaring and standing seagull cushions, like a large and fluid toile.

  5. Great post was really interesting to read about all your work. It made me really miss printing...ah sigh

  6. Hi mise, I think you're thinking of screen printing which is a different area of printmaking from etching. With etchings you use a copper plate, etched in acid, then inked up and printed onto paper, this technique isn't really used for fabrics. I have a blog post on my old blog describing the technique if you'd like to have a look, it was posted about two years ago

  7. Wow, Bridget, your Ma owns the Bay Tree?????

    I so love those cinnamon scones! They are so amazing - of course, thinking about them makes me want one now! :)

  8. Yes Purls of Colour, I feel very lucky, I wish there were Bay Trees everywhere I go! YUM!