ACHICA Living catches up with Scottish printmaker Freya Cumming. She creates beautiful limited-edition prints that are imbued with gold, silver and copper leaf, which gives them a delicate and ethereal quality. Find out what makes the magpie-eyed talent tick here, and the secret she’s never told anyone…
Did you always want to be a printmaker and how did you get into working with the medium? I thought I wanted to be a children’s book Illustrator originally. I wanted to do anything that would mean I could make a living through drawing. I studied Illustration and Printmaking in Dundee followed by an MA in Printmaking in Bristol. Gradually screen printing took over everything else – it’s very versatile and I have just started designing hand-printed wallpapers.
You use gold, silver and copper leaf in your work. What is it you love about working with these materials? The leaf itself is very delicate and I hope that’s true of my drawings. Also I’m a magpie and I’m drawn to shiny things, just a little bit of gold or silver adds a touch of glamour to the paper.
Where do you find your inspiration? Car boot sales, gardens, cityscapes, fabrics, birds and bandstands to name a few. Anywhere that something decorative can be found and put to paper.
During your career, what’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on? Co-founding Snap Studio, the Printmakers Co-operative in Bristol was a really exciting time for me. It was set up during my Masters with friends from the university. Housed in a beautiful 17th-century building in Bristol, it provides studio space and workshops facilities for its resident artists and has a lovely gallery on the ground floor. It’s been my home from home for the last four years.
What’s your favourite art space? It would have to be the building I’m in now. I’m in my studio space at Snap and I’m surrounded by Printmakers and Illustrators. Downstairs we have our own gallery and we have the benefit of being able to invite artists we admire to exhibit here.
What’s your most treasured piece? It’s a simple life drawing from my undergraduate course. It reminds me of how much I enjoyed the discipline of a very traditional course. Emphasis was placed on developing sound drawing skills through constant practice. I loved it.
Tell us one thing you’ve never told anyone… It’s not a secret in the studio that I like to watch a good crime drama when I’m working. There’s nothing like a murder mystery. I think it’s an antidote to all the gold, flowers and pastels before my eyes!
How will you be spending this weekend? My oldest and best friend Marianne is coming down for the weekend from Scotland. We’re going to be doing a little bit of screen printing, and lots of eating and drinking in her favourite cafe…
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor