WORK AND PLAY SERIES: MIMI ROBSON
ARTIST / PRINTMAKER
Mimi is in love with the Cornish coastline, not only for it’s physical beauty and drama, but for how it affects her mentally too. She is fascinated with the transience of waves, moving water and light, and how standing in front of them can force you to reflect on the transience in your own life.
As an artist, Mimi looks to capture these moments of flux through Printmaking. This is an ambitious and challenging study, aiming to grasp movements and emotions that are so fleeting. However, there’s an affinity between Mimi’s inspiration and practise. Much like the unpredictable nature of the sea, etching also comes down to uncontrollable outcomes and spontaneity.
Between her explorative work, commissions and exhibitions, Mimi also works at locally based outdoor brand, Finisterre. The variety of creative work, combined with the expectations of other employment, can sometimes be very overwhelming. Yet Mimi draws on the space and energy she can get from the ocean, cliff walking, sea swimming and photography, both for her work and also for her peace of mind.
Why did you start crafting things?
It was the process of Printmaking that I fell in love with. Etching is an art form but its tradition sits within craft. There is a structure to creating a print that you can barely waver from, which demands concentration and patience.
When I am etching, I am very present with its process; the variations of temperatures, the lengths of time, the pressure of each touch and gesture. Yet in the end the artist must always accept its un-controllable nature and outcome. I have to work along a very fine line of being disciplined and relinquishing control. There is both flow and acute attention. Within this balance, I find real contentment.
What does craft mean to you?
It is about passion. In the day-to-day of digital super speed life, a tactile experience has become so valuable. Craft used to be about practicality, but now our demands can be met by cheaper, quicker methods. So craft has become a celebration of appreciation as much as production. You are investing in yourself when you craft something, learning from its process for your own growth, as much as creating something very special for someone.
What are you most scared of in your work?
There is plenty of doubt and anxiety about my future, about supporting myself and continuing to be ambitious. But there is absolutely no fear when it comes to my work. In fact I think my practice is my liberation from fear!
What keeps you motivated?
The Atlantic; the howling offshore wind, the brilliant turquoise, the nacreous white of rolling water, the misty horizon…I just think its incredibly beautiful, and receive a kind of eclectic energy from it. I find Cornwall very motivating.
As well as being visually captivating, there is an abundance of other creative’s doing really interesting work and a community that encourages collaboration and support for each other. I admire the fellow creative minds that are masters of their craft and their generosity to share their knowledge.
Why would someone choose to live & work in Cornwall?
All the reasons above!
How do you stay connected to the outdoors?
Everyday I walk to work along the Fal River, come rain or shine. It is not a long walk, but it means I start and end every day with fresh air. It helps me find energy for the day, and to let go of any anxiety when I leave work. The routine reflects on the changes of the day, within myself or simply in the weather.
Why are you self -employed?
In some frustrating times, I do ask myself why I committed to being an artist. When you are younger, everyone jokes that it will be hard and you will be poor; and there are many times that you truly are living those circumstances. But there is simply no other choice for me. I am lucky to work at Finisterre, a company that encourages our creative, spontaneous and adventurous cravings. It means I have stability and an income to support myself.
What has your work revealed about yourself?
It has shown me that I am capable. I think it is wonderful that to be a good craftsperson you have to learn your craft. You must be incredibly committed and hardworking to master your skill. It is an honest and open practice, without fluke. With that comes a very healthy confidence and pride.
How does the out doors affect you?
I am revitalised whenever I am in wild nature, especially close to or in the sea. The magnitude of it puts things into perspective because it strips away every pressure for a time; it brings you back to yourself.