I specialise in reduction lino cut printmaking using oil based inks, and work from a home studio in Kingston, Southern Tasmania.
All my formal career experience is in the biological sciences. After graduating from the University of Tasmania in 1992, with a Bachelor of Science and first class Honours in Biochemistry, I moved to Sydney to commence a Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), which I completed in 1997. There followed two years of post-doctoral research at Lund University (Sweden), after which I returned to Sydney in 2000 to work as a Lecturer in Microbiology at UNSW for a further three years.
That summarises a large slice of my life, immersed in the world of science and academia. However that time was threaded through with the pursuit of creative hobbies. I attended many Adult Education courses in my leisure time; these included oil painting, pottery, watercolour painting, charcoal and pencil drawing, pastel painting, framing, and portraiture. Coming from a family of keen hobbyists (my mother a watercolourist, and my father a violin maker), such creative pursuits were a natural outlet for me.
There were many things I loved about my academic career, such as the people I met, living in other countries, and the chance to pursue my curiosity about the natural world. However, in time I became unhappy with the career path I had chosen. I had also had enough of the crowds and frantic lifestyle of Sydney, so when the opportunity came to move back to Tasmania with my husband and 9-month-old twins, I was glad to leave that part of my life behind.
Looking back now, it feels like my adult life is divided into two phases, the first about science and career, the second about family and home. Early adulthood almost seems like another life, so much has changed. One thing that didn’t change, however, was the pursuit of arts and crafts. With access to a workshop and fine Tasmanian timbers, I learned to design and carve decorative spoons and jewellery.
Then I discovered the art of reduction lino cut printmaking.
In 2018 I attended a series of printmaking classes in Hobart to learn the basics of lino cut relief printing. It is an art that merges many of my skills and interests. The physical process of lino cut printing is very tactile and technical – carving with gauges, mixing with palette knives, rolling out inks, and pressing paper to plate. I draw directly onto the lino plate prior to carving, and work with colour; something I missed with woodcarving. My background as a research scientist underlies my whole approach to printmaking, from the subjects I am inspired to depict, to the analytical and investigative process involved in the planning.
Printmaking draws together and unifies the two phases of my life, because the same drive to comprehend and engage with the natural world that originally attracted me to science, continues to motivate and support my printmaking practice.