Hello, my name is Fiona and I am a printmaker. I was born in Brisbane in 1971 and grew up in Maryborough Queensland. I completed a Diploma of Education at QUT Kelvin Grove in 1991, majoring in printmaking and photography and I continue to work as a Secondary Art Teacher part time. I currently live on the beautiful southern Gold Coast and have been developing my arts practice since 2010. My business name and the aesthetic of my work reflects my love of all things old, worn, nostalgic and sentimental and the memories and stories connected to them.
My preferred method of printmaking is a relief printmaking process called lino printing. It involves drawing a design onto a specially made surface then removing the areas I do not wish to print using small carving tools, leaving a raised area to receive the ink. I need to work with the image in reverse, and as I often include street signage in my work (I love little details like that!) I need to ensure the writing is reversed also. Depending on the size and complexity of my lino designs, some blocks can take over 20 hours just to cut. This carved block is then inked up using a soft rubber roller, then after laying a sheet of paper onto the inked surface a print is taken by rubbing the back of the printing paper with a tool called a ‘baren’. An edition of around 20 prints can take 3 to 4 hours to print by hand, with all of my work being printed in my home, by myself. I do not use a printing press. Some prints are then either selectively or fully hand coloured using quality inks.
The aesthetic or style of my current work is very much informed by the nostalgia of the older Gold Coast lifestyle and the holidays people enjoyed here. I document, preserve and reflect upon these older homes and holiday flats in my work and I find the classic architecture comforting. These fibro and blonde brick beach houses dot the Gold Coast in all their kitsch quirkiness and the retro nostalgia and memories attached to these often humble dwellings and holidays shacks are an integral layer in the storytelling of earlier times. My immediate neighbourhood on the southern Gold Coast still holds some hidden gems, though with the continuing development these are often dwarfed by new buildings. Viewing them I wonder who has stayed here over the years and what stories those walls could tell. The best moments are when I discover homes obviously still occupied by their original owners, complete with early model cars, Hills Hoists, patio furniture and concrete pots. Like a little time capsule, their fading beauty is still charming. My media of choice, linoprinting, evokes some of that ‘worn around the edges’ charm of those homes. Earlier works include nostalgic imagery of past times, people, places and objects. Other artists I admire include Reg Mombassa, Bruce Gould and Susan Schmidt.
My regular customers and the main audience of my work are people with a love of nostalgia and retro architecture and those keen on preserving and celebrating the local history of the Gold Coast or indeed any coastal location. People connect with my work as they remember their own holidays or family homes, and those memories are powerful. They purchase my work as a little piece of their own history to reminisce about. Reflecting on what I love most about what I do, it is the connections I make with people as I discuss my work and they tell me their own stories. In a literal sense I love the carving of the lino block the most….repetitive and like a meditation…I can get lost for hours! It’s my ‘happy place’.