Jill Crowther
Jill Crowther
Shelly Perkins
Shelly Perkins
Catherine Van Giap - fish panel
Catherine Van Giap
William Smith
William Smith
Harbour by Lorenzo Gavarini
Lorenzo Gavarini

Rowan McOnegal

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Artwork for Rowan McOnegal

Metamorphosis

Birches pond

Passiflora

Coppice Field

Ogham series: Holly/Tinne

Magnolia

Willow wand

Teasel

Details

Telephone: 
+44781 6858664
How would you describe the work you do and why?: 

My work has always been concerned with our relationship with nature and the world around us. The intersection of material and environmental concerns, and transferable skills, led me to explore Mokuhanga. As always, it was also the search for transformation that preoccupied me, the unknown and unforeseen, the form that has not yet arrived. Art work comes from the unfamiliar, it's about extending the boundaries of the self. I travelled to japan to learn about this technique, which was a wonderful, immersive, meditative and inspiring experience. I loved the physical and sensual engagement with the materials , and the low-tech, environmentally friendly and sustainable nature of the medium : a perfect harmony of material and expression, echoing the traditional Japanese approach to art and life. It fits well with my contemplative approach to art.

For you what does being an artist mean?: 

Being at one with nature, in many different ways - through the material, the direct experience, and the action - channelling that energy and losing the boundaries. For me, it's a balance between control and flow, between emotion and equanimity.

Describe what you call yourself/your practice?: 

I am a mokuhanga (Japanese water based woodblock printmaking) artist.

Your practice & activities include e.g workshops, teaching: 

I make my own work and also teach the technique.

CV & Education, relevant & leading to your artistic practice: 

I am a British artist who focuses on mokuhanga, Japanese woodblock printmaking. I also make drawings and paintings. My work has been exhibited internationally and I teach woodblock printmaking workshops.

Born on the west coast of Scotland, I trained in Fine Art (painting) at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, where I also studied printmaking and photography. Environmental and social concerns then drew me to study herbal medicine whilst also working as a photographer. I have also worked as a gardener, herbalist, artist and teacher. All these components have been the raw materials for my work.

I feel a powerful connection to the landscape : of Scotland, Ireland, Wiltshire and now, in the borders with Wales where I now live.

My creative practice continued to evolve and transform, and I worked across many disciplines and in a variety of contexts including photography, textiles, printmaking, painting and, for 20 years, stained glass. Now I focus on mokuhanga, as I grew to feel uncomfortable with the toxic nature of stained glass materials and the energy costs involved.

I have always been preoccupied with the notion of authenticity, and in seeking out the roots of my inspiration. In the past few years I have become increasingly interested in the ‘raw materials’ of the creative process, as well as the physical raw materials that I engage with.

These materials carry ritual power as well as being a vehicle for our environmental consciousness.

These concerns led me to travel to Japan in 2016, having been selected to take part in an International Artist’s Residency at Mokuhanga Innovation Lab, Lake Kawaguchi ( for which I was awarded a QEST scholarship), and a training in traditional water-based woodblock printmaking.

I discovered that there were many aspects of Japanese culture that resonated with me: the aesthetic of wabi-sabi, the appreciation of craft and tradition, the use of natural materials, the reverence for nature (especially in the native Shinto religion), the important role of temples and gardens, and many other concepts that have a cultural meaning in Japan.

I returned to the UK and found that I could no longer continue to work with glass, using toxic paints and sandblasting equipment. I had been enjoying experimenting with plating layers of glass together in exciting and unexpected ways, and using more painterly effects using different mediums with stains and paints, informed by my printmaking experience, but I wanted to work with more natural and environmentally safe materials. This was exciting but also an uncomfortable challenge. I had enjoyed the physical process of woodblock printmaking – the indirectness that gives the print ‘a secret and unintended beauty…this is why prints are mystifying’. There is a tension between the spontaneity and the elaborate processes involved. I had also relished the engagement with natural materials, the elemental qualities of wood, pigments, the beautiful handmade paper and handprinting with the bamboo baren, which all contributed to the sensual and meditative experience of mokuhanga.

I am now learning a new language, and reconnecting through drawing and painting in places that enchant and move me emotionally, trying not to have too much of an agenda (a work in progress) towards more printmaking. I’m hoping to immerse myself in the landscape, to be contemplative, to surrender to the creative process, to embody and not just document my experience.

Exhibitions in the last 3 years: 

Made in the Marches gallery, Kington
Tim Hawkins Gallery, Hereford

Your gallery outlets/stockists: 

People are welcome to visit my studio to look at work for sale. I have exhibitions coming up in 2024 at the Tower Gallery, Crickhowell and at Larchwood Studio, for h.Art

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