Black Cockatoo Books is the publishing label of Bridget Farmer, an author and artist in Central Victoria, Australia. Bridget’s works focus on engaging children with native Australian birds through her simple rhymes and beautiful pictures. To illustrate her books Bridget uses a mixture of printmaking techniques and hand colouring. Kookaburra Kookaburra is illustrated with linoprints, while The Bush Birds and The Beach Birds are created using drypoint etchings and watercolour paints. You can view her processes in her social media accounts under the name BridgetFarmerPrintmaker. I now live in country Victoria with my husband, two young sons and a whole flock of chickens.
I have always been interested in birds. As a child my mum pointed out birds to me, told me about their songs and bought me my first bird book. When I came to Australia I felt like I was in a new world, very far from home, mostly because of the birds. Their different shapes, colours, sounds and even how they behaved. I didn’t quite believe my friends when they told me about swooping magpies! After constant questions of “What’s that bird? oooh! what’s that one?” my friends gifted me my first Australian bird book and I set about familiarising myself with all these exotic species. I feel using birds as my inspiration is my way of continuing to learn about them.
I'm now also hoping to pass on this passion for birds to the next generation in the form of my children's books. It makes me so happy everytime a parent messages me saying their child can now identify the birds in their garden after reading my books. I hope that this can be a little step in protecting our precious wildlife and unique ecosystems.
I have always loved this quote by Baba Dioum. I think it is very relevant and keeps me making my illustrations, children's books and games.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love
only what we understand; and we will understand only
what we are taught." (Baba Dioum, 1968.)
On arrival in Australia I attended a weekend printmaking course and the technique just clicked for me. It was a natural continuation of my love of drawing. I enjoy the cross over between art and craft when making a copper plate. I still use many of my jewellery making tools and I still get to work in metal, but I am also able to incorporate my loose line drawing style as well as embracing the ‘happy accidents’ that printmaking so often presents. See below for some videos showing my process.
An Autumn Day In The Studio
Making a drypoint etching from making the plate to inking it up and printing it.
The Barn Owl
Inking up a large plate in two colours a la poupee.
Inking up and printing a two plate print.