Margaret Ashman read Physics at Oxford and worked for several years in the field of Acousto Optics. She retrained as an artist printmaker between 1998 and 2005 at the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Brighton.
She writes of her work: My imagery is carefully constructed from my own photography and borrowed elements from sources such as fabrics, garments, wallpaper, or books with an oriental influence. My favourite muse is the Japanese dancer, Chisato Minamimura, who performed improvised dance and a number of sequences of sign language for the Deaf (Chisato is deaf) for my camera. I strive for a spiritual elegance and simplicity in my finished works, in contrast to the lengthy, complicated process of making. A poem or phrase or idea is given to the dancer as a starting point, from which the work evolves. Further layers add new constructs until the etching process translates the final image into a coherent whole, with rich textures and delicate colour combinations. The addition of birds, flowers and other elements allows the viewer a window into the subconscious inner world, a different reality to the visible.
My interest in the orient stems from a family collection of Chinese and Japanese ceramics and embroideries which I was familiar with as a child. I was recently invited to the Guanlan Print Base in southern China as an International Artist in Residence. My work is in a number of collections in China including the Guandong Museum of Art and Shenzhen University. Margaret is a member of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, her highly crafted photo etchings have been shown extensively and are held by numerous collections nationally and internationally.