Artist of the week – Lyndsay FergusTJ
Hi there and welcome to this week’s artist of the week
Born in Portobello, well Joppa actually, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Lyndsay grew up in East Lothian on the east coast of Scotland. After leaving school in Edinburgh, next on the agenda was a foundation year at York Art College then a degree in fine art printing and textiles at Camberwell College in South London. A couple more years in London followed then a move to Brighton (I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to Brighton?).
Lyndsay exhibited all over the country but was forever being made homeless, as artists seem to be, so moved back to Scotland where she met husband, Andrew, and decided to get married after only two weeks!
Andrew is a furniture maker and they had a studio where he would make stuff while Lyndsay would print stuff. Then kids came along and when the second little one arrived Lyndsay decided to take a break from printing.
Then a brainwave happened while extending the house to accommodate child number three. Why not included a printing studio in the house? Child number 4 arrives, and Lyndsay finds herself running Usbourne Children’s Books and managing quite a big team of people which was she really enjoyed. Then, as they do, the children all grew up. Andrew and Lyndsay decided to buy a big site in the village with the intention of starting an art and craft centre and farm shop. It was going fantastically well, including the last standing wooden auction mart in Scotland when the worst happened and Lyndsay suffered a stroke.
They decided that carrying on the centre was too much and turned to a business partner who bought them out. Once her recovery was well on the way, Lyndsay became a chef for a charity in Haddington. Then 2020 arrived with a resounding BOOM and, with lockdown, Lyndsay found herself unemployed with nothing to do.
The devil finds work for idle hands and Lyndsay started printing again. Enlisting the help of daughter Alice, a gallery developed in the stairwell of her house and has now had a few shows in what has become known as “The Half Landing Gallery” with friends coming for private viewings.
Lyndsay has now decided she’s not going to go back to a “proper job” and she’s going to make her living from printing again.
So, without any further ado…
I grabbed my usual cup of tea and sat down in my kitchen for a lovely chat with Lyndsay thanks to the power of internet video chat (do I sound like I understand technology yet? I’m getting there, lol).
What inspired you to become a printer?
I studied art at school of course then went on to do a foundation course at York Art College. I really enjoyed the textile side of things so, when I moved on to take my degree, I knew that textile printing was what I wanted to do. I only really got into paper printing about two years ago. In the midst of producing four children in ten years I’d studied paper printing at an evening class and found it so much easier than printing on cloth. Now I’ve found it I’ll never looked back.
So tell me about this giant printing sesh
I love a challenge. During the first part of lockdown I’d decided to print these giant burdock leaves. I use an old mangle as a press but it’s only 45cm wide and some of the giant rhubarb leaves I’ve seen can grow to enormous sizes, way beyond the restrictions of my mangle. Next, I started looking for somewhere that could accommodate such an enormous subject and I found somewhere nearby with a giant roller.
I roped in my friend and tutor Fiona to come and help and we had a go. Essentially, it’s exactly the same principle as before, just on a much larger scale. You have to ink the leaves and lay the paper on top etc. The problem was that it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped because there’s no pressure from underneath. We’re now looking into a way of refining the process for better results so I’ll keep you posted.
[Click here to see Lyndsay’s fantastic video of her giant printing session! – TJ]
My next project is 3d! Plaster and aluminium casting first because I can do that at home but I’m hoping to move on to Bronze casting at the sculpture workshop in Leith in Edinburgh.
What’s life like as an artist in your area?
Brilliant! It’s very active with tons of stuff going on. Lots of individuals and groups, social enterprises helping people with special needs and so forth. Every year there’s an arts tour where you get a map and head round everyone’s houses and little galleries. Really lovely although I don’t suppose it can happen this year. Most of the galleries are closed and those that are open are empty as nobody wants to risk a visit.
Is your family artistic?
Not really, it’s just me and the old man. Andrew plays the fiddle and, of course, he’s been a furniture maker for years. My first son is more sporty. Daughter, Alice, is a very good writer and is currently studying screenwriting. My other daughter is just about to have her second child and my second son is very outdoorsy. He’s just in the process of buying his third boat.
Who is your favourite artist?
Ben Nicholson. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you why but I just really love his work and always have done. I’m very interested in minimalist composition, I’ll move something a millimetre if it’s not right. His work is simplistic and, in my eyes, beautifully composed.
What advice would you give to beginners?
Experiment loads and learn your craft, master all the techniques. Once you’ve learned how to do it properly and well the world is your oyster.
A lot of my work develops from learning how to make a mark on a piece of paper. When you’re painting you know what you’re trying to do whereas with printing, a lot of it is accidental. You find things work well for one print that may not work well for others. Lots and lots of piles of paper screwed up and thrown on the floor is a sign that you’re getting there not that you’re failing. Anything is printable, I even shaved my hair off for charity and did a print of my own shaven head once just to see what would happen.
How have you found LA&C’s mentoring scheme?
Zoe’s been amazing as a mentor. I’ve got sales thanks to her advice, it’s driven a huge amount of people to my page and things are really looking up. I’m such a novice when it comes to social media I need all the help I can get and Dean has been utterly amazing too.
Equally though, if anyone is interested in printing and would like to pick my brains, if I can be of help I’d be glad to give it.
I have to say, most of all, the Facebook group has been amazing. We all help and support each other. It’s much more of a community than any other selling group or site I’ve come across over the years. Can you imagine getting this support from Etsy?
I literally could never have done what I’ve done and got my new career off the ground without the guys at Local Art & Craft so a massive thank you to everyone in the FB group and especially to you, Denise and Dean.
When are we having our Christmas party?
So there you have it…
Thanks to Lyndsay for giving up her afternoon to share her story. As a fellow stroke survivor I can tell you, it was a real pleasure to hear what a magnificent recovery you’ve made.
There’s nothing left but for me to tell everyone that you can visit Lyndsay’s shop by clicking here and treat yourself to something truly handmade.
Well, that’s all from me for this week.
If Lyndsay’s story has inspired you to discover your creative side or if you’re already fully embracing your artistic inner self and you’d like to join our Facebook community of artists, crafters and artisans you can join the LA&C FB group by clicking here.
If you’d like to be our featured artist of the week please feel free to drop me a line and introduce yourself at email@example.com
And last but not least, our August competition is NOW OPEN!
You can enter, view and vote for all entries here. Get your voting finger ready, there are already some fantastic entries but more will be going in soon so don’t forget to pop back and vote for your favourite.
See you all next week.
By for now.