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Katie Clemson
Katie Clemson "... for years, I've cut, printed and burnished to a background of comedy, plays, Woman's Hour, Shipping Forecasts and of course The Archers."

I discovered Radio 4 in about my second year at Art College and used to play it to try and counteract a really irritating guy in the same studio who used to loudly sand each layer of paint he put on.

I arrived in the UK in 1971, fresh from outback Australia where the only radio we received, peppered with crackling (and dust) was the ABC. Mornings of Listen with Mother, and the Argonauts Club - which were great - and afternoons of Today in Parliament live all afternoon - which were not!.

Radio 4 is always on in my studio, as well as in my car and kitchen. As long-distance sailors, it was always on in our boat.

Someone might think: "if she didn't listen to the radio so much, how much better would she do everything!" but I have an answer to that: I come from a family of talkers - none of us listen, just talk. So Radio 4 became a companionable background for me of constant talk. The only time I stop what I'm doing is during Desert Island Discs: if I hear a record that is wonderful (as, unlike many artists, I can't work to music), I actually listen to it.

So, for years, I've cut, printed and burnished to a background of comedy, plays, Woman's Hour, Shipping Forecasts and of course The Archers. All have filtered in somewhere, and although not consciously listening, I have somehow heard. I sometimes see a work of mine in a house or a gallery and can quite vividly recall what was playing when I was putting the third colour on, or cutting the main block.

I would be lost without it, Radio 4 is my working life, and what makes spending hours on my own, with me as company, a pleasant and interesting experience!
ListenListen to Katie Clemson (1 minute)
Katie Clemson is an accomplished printmaker and painter who delights in the sunlight and colour found in the Australian landscape. Having lived in England for a long time, she understands the difference in light: "I find the misty mood of that English half-light quite depressing, I am more interested in the in-your-face brightness of Australian light, I want the full-on colours and light."

Katie has often taken inspiration from rivers, from Shoalhaven rocks and reeds to Pittwater boatsheds, she has an unerring eye for the myriad ways in which water reflects light. In 2002, she produced a series of linocuts based on trout-flies, and continues to journey to remote regions of Australia for source material: "I react to what's around me and I take what I want from the landscape."

Katie Clemson was born in Temora, NSW and lived in England for many years, where she started White Gum Press in the 1980s - a print workshop specialising in woodcut, linocut and monotype in the south of England.

Katie has exhibited extensively in Britain in both group and solo shows, including the Redfern Gallery in London. From 1995 until 2001 she was based in Canberra, while her husband was the British High Commissioner. For Katie, this resulted in a number of exhibitions and a commission for the foyer of the British High Commission building.

Katie has an extensive background in printmaking, including many teaching posts both in Australia and Britain, and is co-author of The Complete Manual of Relief Printmaking, published by Collins. Her work is represented in collections the world over, including the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Ruskin School of Art, Oxford, ; Artbank, Sydney; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Curtin University, Perth; and the State Library of WA, Perth.
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The Artist and Radio 4:
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3-27 November 2005
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