Bronach is a collage artist. She currently works in both 2D and 3D creating unique pieces from her original photographs. She is an avid long-distance walker and much of her source material has been gleaned from the many sites she has visited and photographed.
Using the photographs, she deconstructs the images to create a new and sometimes challenging view of the world she inhabits. She considers the more unusual aspects of nature and landscape as her subject matter, manipulating scale and dimension to suit her purpose.
Not only does she draw inspiration from nature, but any object can be used in her search for the story within a piece of work e.g. there are images she has used which originate from such diverse places as San Chapelle in Paris, the Fitzwilliam Museum and the local charity shop. Her work also reflects much that she encounters in her everyday life.
She also is involved in education running school projects and workshops for organisations like Age UK and art groups.
Describe what you do as a creative.
I make collage both 2d and 3D using prints of my own photographs. My subject is very much nature based. I am an avid long distance walker and much of my material is gleaned from photographs taken on those walks.
My 2D collages are mounted on painted canvas and can include up to 250 individual pieces.
My 3D pieces are made from the leftover paper created from the collage making. I use household items eg bowls and glasses as a mould but the finished items are made up on approximately 6 layers of recycled paper scraps. I have also up-cycled pieces of furniture using collaged prices
Tell us briefly about yourself so we understand where you come from. What’s your story? What’s your background?
I was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland and am very much attached to my Irish culture and language. I have, however, lived in the UK for many years. I have worked extensively with young people in therapeutic outdoor settings running residential courses in everything from parenting in a tipi in the Wye valley to creative course in caves and on our sailing ship in the north of Scotland.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I’m not sure I wanted to be anything. I married early and had a child. I worked in a whole variety of industries and I believe that has enhanced my life and my understanding of the world and it’s people. I’m pleased I haven’t followed a career route - having to leave our home in Belfast in the middle of my important exam years precluded my chance of university but that hasn’t stopped me engaging in those subjects that still interest me.
How did you begin doing what you do? How did it all start? Did you go to art school? Did you start your practice as a hobby? Etc...
I’ve never had any background in formal art. That finished at the end of primary school. However I’ve always been creative through necessity. My current work began as Virginia Woolf says - with a room of my own. As I had no preconceptions about how I should approach making art I just began by experimenting mostly with material taken from magazines. Getting an iPhone was a real breakthrough. That was about five years ago. I now have a six colour printer and the best scissored in the world. That and the room to make a mess has brought me to where I am today.
What turns on your creativity? What triggers your need to create and to make art?
The natural world triggers my creativity. I see and photograph some much wonderful stuff that this is enough to start my imagination working. I get ideas from my walks, visits to museums, art galleries, charity shops, my Indian bedspread, the endless collection of items gathered on walks. In fact it’s all grist to the mill of my imagination.
What do you like best about your work?
I like that no one else does collage this way. Therefore I get to be experimental in ways that maybe more traditional art forms cannot. As I am self taught (no online courses for me) I am constantly excited about what the possibilities are for development. I enjoy challenging myself with my art form.
When were you most satisfied in your work? What is your golden moment so far?
I’m happy when I see what I’ve achieved on the wall in any exhibition. And I enjoy the response for other artists and buyers. My work often creates interesting conversations. My golden moment was when I first exhibited my work. With The Magnificent Seven five years ago. I did an artist talk and it went down very well. I hope for more golden moments.
Describe a memorable response to your work? The way people responded to a piece of your work? What was their reaction? What did they say?
I created a piece which at Open Studios elicited this response “I couldn’t possibly hang this on a wall in my house - it’s far too disturbing”. I loved that response. It was exactly what I wanted. My work is not pretty. It always has an edge which is slightly off key. Each piece has a story. I leave that to the viewers imagination.
What is the most exciting part of your work at the moment?
I’m getting ready for our annual Colony exhibition which is in November at the Halpern Gallery. Right now I’m surrounded by piles of coloured scrap paper and soon I’ll be created some bowls and containers. I like the impetus of an impeding show. As I create these I know more ideas will come. And I won’t be able to stop.
What is your dream project?
I’d love to create something really big. I lack the equipment to do that but I’d just like to see how something would look on a wall.
Which artists / creative people are your heroes or inspiring figures?
I’m not very knowledgeable about the art world but sometimes someone will send me an image saying "this reminds me of your work". The dark moody night scenes might be Samuel Palmer. Or a book cover. I’m an idea stealer so if I see something in someone’s work I’ll photograph it. I saw a John Nash exhibition at the Towner Gallery and using his botanical drawing as the basis for a piece of work. I like the rather somber still life pairings which have beetles etc in them.
Your idea of happiness?
Being in a wild place and seeing wonderful scenery. Preferably somewhere warm but I’m open to travelling anywhere that allows to walk the land I’m visiting. Making music with my friends , having people staying at our house, taking part in community events, meeting people, my job at Restoration House, working with groups, spending time with my creative family, learning new things, my husband and fellow artist and traveller, being alive and being part of stuff (in a nutshell). Would be easier to say what I don’t like.
What art/creativity related book should everyone read?
The New Colony brochure
Any poetry by Bill Lewis
All the books in the world
Tell us a lesson life has taught you.
Make a difference. You are the only person who can do what you do.
And - it won’t always be like this.
Rochester, , Rochester, Medway, United Kingdom,
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