I'm always a little envious of other artists, especially the ones that seem to work so spontaneously. The collectors of artefacts and everyday items that they keep scattered throughout their home and studio. These curious relics providing endless inspiration for drawings, sketches and mark-making. Sarah Montgomery is one of these collectors. Her cosy home studio is laiden with beautiful seed pods collected by her kids, rusty tape measures dug up from the garden and scraps of fabric she keeps for inspiration.
Sarah is a printmaker of all methods. She uses many different plates and layers to create her artworks building beautiful depth and texture. I met Sarah at her gorgeous, breezy home in Dee Why to see the new prints making their way to Orange for Floating Land, a collaborative exhibition with fellow artist Fiona Chandler.
Tell us a little about your background and training as an artist.
I was born in Tasmanian, I completed a bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Printmaking and Graphic Design at The Centre for the Arts, Hobart. As a printmaker and artist I am pursuing a visual arts practice that focuses on creating artworks with a narrative and connection to nature. I live and work on the Northern Beaches as an artist, curator and gallery manager at Sydney Road Gallery, Seaforth.
Where do you find inspiration for your practice?
When I am still and present I am inspired. Life can be a whirlwind sometimes, almost a blur. I try and balance out busy times with a little stillness. We spent a lot of time camping as a family when I was growing up, escaping on weekends to remote places. We went on slow bush walks, and discovered delicate objects to examine. Stopping, looking and recording details. We would visit rock beaches, complete with wild winds skimming across grey, blue seas. These wide natural spaces and distant horizons have shaped me, that experience never leaves you. I continue to use the colour palette which I associate with my island home today. A collection of pigments in layered and embossed etchings.
What is your favourite printmaking medium and why?
Copper Drypoint etchings are my preferred option. Feathered lines are scratched and scored directly or slowly etched into copper plates. These fine lines and scratched marks are layered up. However I usually use more than one type of plate on a final print, a collage of many marks. The immediacy of line onto a plate is great. I trained in drawing so I love to use line work and tone and painter techniques of mono printing. Repeated patterns in leaves, wood, rocks and seeds are often repeated motifs.
What's next for you?
I am working on a series of works on paper that are bigger. Spacious. It will be a great challenge this year. I am concentrating on building imagery with journal entries of fallen flora and fauna, sketches and ink washes. These collections that I have found and kept resurface. These elements build with contours and hollows, curled edges move often to burred, black lines as the working parts shape the final image. Collaboration is definitely on the horizon too.