Artist of the Week - Jonathan Doney

Jonathan's distinctive work is often a talking point in the gallery with its clever play on words. Here is our mini interview with Jonathan.

Q. How would you describe your work?

A. I was educated as a typographer, so the majority of my work is centred on the presentation of letters and words. Using poems, sayings, serious meaningful stuff as well as some quirky bits and pieces I aim to give something that is pleasing to the eye and printed to as high a standard as possible using a process that dates back to the 1400's. In other words, I work in the past!

Q. What inspires you?

A. Language mainly and how you can introduce visual elements to complement what's being read. If I can bring in a 'trick' or two that raises a smile, then, it can make the image more memorable and enjoyable. As a famous designer once said, 'Type are the clothes that words wear.'

Q. Can you describe your techniques and how you work?

A. It's letterpress printing using individual characters (letters) which are made from either metal or wood. Mostly, I'll scribble an idea out and then work it up on my printing press as I go along.  Choice of paper is as important as the size and style of the type and the colours which are going to be used. Sometimes, especially when producing leaflets and small booklets there's a lot of advance planning to be done.

Q. Tell us about where you work.

A. My garage has been converted into a workshop and I'm quite happy there although I've outgrown it now. Most of the year it's great but winter is a bad time as it gets really very cold because it's sited on the north side of our house. The temperature plays havoc with my feet.

Q. And finally, just for fun, what is your favourite word, and why!

A. Truth. Nothing is more powerful. If you have truth on your side you cannot be overcome.

Artist of the Week - Melanie Wickham

Melanie's quirky lino prints are instantly recognisable and are a firm favourite in the Ginger Fig Gallery

Here is our interview with her.

Q. How would you describe your work?

A. My work consists mainly of small lino prints in black and white, covering all sorts of subject matter, but the natural world features a lot....

Q. What inspires you?

A. The best piece of advice I received was to draw what you know and I really do try to follow that, because it means that you can be constantly inspired - by small observations whilst you wash-up, strange situations that life puts you into and the familiar of your everyday life. No need to wait for a huge wave of inspiration to hit you, just look around. This source of inspiration may not be immediately obvious in all of my work, but that is what sketch books are for!.

Q. Can you describe you techniques and how you work?

A. I draw in sketch books a lot and ideas evolve there. Occasionally the appear fully formed.

 I then transfer the design onto blocks of lino and start carving. This can take some time as all the areas I want to remain 'unprinted' need to be carved away (for instance, every bit of white in my images has been cut away and some of them are very white..)

Next I roll out ink onto a glass slab, roller the ink onto the lino and print the image. I don't use a press at all, I print by hand using a boxwood burnishing tool so have good muscles but in only one shoulder. ..I can control the amount of pressure put onto the paper really well using this technique and this means I am controlling how much ink is picked up by the paper and therefore how the image looks.

Then the prints are left to dry.

Q. Tell us about where you work.

A. I work at home, with a desk for lino cutting, sketching and playing around and I use the kitchen table for printing on as it's bigger. I leave prints drying all around the house too, mainly on top of bookshelves.

Q. And finally, just for fun, what is your favourite word?

A. Discombobulated. Because sometimes it is exactly the right word to describe how you feel, even if you don't know what it means!

Artist of the Week - Dawn Brimicombe

Dawn's work is a fairly new addition to Ginger Fig. As well as her encaustic paintings we have a good selection  of her greetings cards for sale in the gallery. Here is our mini interview with Dawn .

Q. How would you describe your work?

A. In a nutshell!. textural, my paintings are both visual and tactile, often translucent, sometimes luminous, always exciting and often experimental. You never stop learning!

Q. What inspires you?

A. Everything around me, living by the sea and surrounded by the beautiful countryside, I am inspired by the natural world, organic formations and of course my favourite subject.....birds and trees!

Q. Can you describe your technique and how you work?

A. I make my own Encaustic Wax medium using a blend of bees wax and tree resin. I then use  a hotplate to melt the wax along with pigments, dry and ready made. Hot molten wax is poured and brushed onto birch board  ( I sometimes like to use driftwood). Heating and fusing  many layers, I then incise, embed, draw or transfer images such as photographs or graphite drawings whilst the wax is still warm. Sometimes maps and other paper items can be found in my paintings reflecting on past journeys. I also like to make surface patterns and lines within the wax representing organic formations and natural processes. I  collect seed heads and other plant matter during the autumn months, my pockets are usually full of found treasures which are then set into wax and kept forever! The possibilities are endless when working with encaustic wax.

Q. Tell us about where you work.

A.I work from my cottage garden studio not far from Lyme Regis, accompanied by my array of pets. It is beautiful in the summer but can be chilly in the winter!

Q. And finally, just for fun, what is your favourite word and why?

A. I don't really have a favourite word, but I do have a favourite quote 'Practice random acts of kindness'.

Artist of the week - Trevor Lillistone

Trevor's hand thrown stoneware has been a popular feature in Ginger Fig Gallery for some years. His hand thrown stoneware is contemporary in style and comes in a variety of finishes and colours.

Here is our mini interview with Trevor.

Q. How would you describe your work ?

A. I produce thrown stoneware ceramics in a contemporary style ranging from small batch domestic ware through to decorative pieces of tall vases and larger bowls with individual finshes.

Q. What inspires you?

A. My particular interest is in producing textures and colours inspired by the natural landscape, particularly the rock and sea of the coast, and to obtain spontaneous and individual qualities more usually found in wood firing whilst using and electric kiln. The forms that I make have evolved over time and continue to develop to the limits of the material and my technique, particularly the larger bowls and tall vases which hold the most challenge and are also the most satisfying.

Q. Can you describe your techniques and how you work?


A. My ceramics are all hand thrown on an electric wheel, generally in sanded white stoneware clay (Potclays 1142/30). I use a variety of volcanic slips, glazes and oxides to produce bowls with smooth inner surfaces contrasting with the textured outer surface, and vases fired multiple times with a layer of build up of turquoise glaze. The work is electric kiln fired in an oxidised atmosphere to 1240 deg C.


Q. Tell us about where you work.


A. I have recently moved to a  studio at Bath Artists Studios in central Bath, and after working from a very small conservatory at home I an enjoying both the extra space and being part of an artistic community.



Q. And finally, just for fun, what is your favourite word and why!


A.  Serendipity, both because I like the sound and because it also describes the way my work can often develop by happy accidents.              



Artist of the week - Josephine Wadman

Many of you will have seen Josephine's work in Ginger Fig or at a variety of Somerset Art Week venues over the last few years. She makes glass lampwork bead and jewellery and has recently begun to include some silversmithing techniques in her work. Here is our interview.

Q. How would you describe your work.

A. Varied, colourful, recognisable (so I'm told by other beadmakers), but quite constrained and neat (unlike my house).

Q. What inspires you.

A.It is often colour or combinations of colour that I see somewhere, maybe a piece of fabric, a picture or some flowers. Sometimes it is more a theme, often a particular landscape such as coastline or moorland.

Q. Can you describe your techniques and how you work.

A. Lampwork involves melting the end of a glass rod in an open flame. I have a torch fixed to my bench which burns propane and oxygen. The addition of oxygen ensures an very hot and clean flame. Varying the proportions of the two gases enables me to coax special effects and colours out of some types of glass as the metal used in the pigments are reduced or oxygenated. The molten glass is wound onto a thin steel mandrel. Layers of colour are added and sometimes metal foils or wire, enamels or glass frit (tiny pieces of glass, usually in a pre-mixed blend of colours) are included. The beads then go from the flame straight into a hot kiln where the glass is annealed to remove all the stress put into it while working). The kiln slowly comes back to room temperature and the glass bead are removed from the steel mandrels which leaves the hole through which the bead is strung.

Q. Tell us about where you work.

A. I have a workshop at the back of my garage which overlooks part of my garden. It isn't very glamorous and it is generally very untidy but it does the job. I'm trying to sell my house at the moment so when I do move I will need a new workshop as well as a new house.

Q.And finally just for fun, what is your favourite word.

A. I can't think of one so I'm going to cheat and quote Albus Dumbledore (yes I love Harry Potter) 'I'd like to say a few words, and here they are.Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweek!


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