I am an artist and maker living and working in East Dulwich, South East London. Currently, I divide my time between my studio, where I create a diverse proliferation of mixed-media artworks, and my classroom, where I teach children and older people the joys of making.
My interest has always been in the handmade using direct and uncomplicated methods in drawing, painting, print and assemblage. I often work quickly and in series. I have a particular interest in the vernacular. Every day objects, loved ones, and my immediate surroundings have been a great escape during lockdown. I am drawn to the overlooked and humble items that might be discovered in charity shops, markets, or seaside walks.
I have been a maker my whole life and an art teacher for over 30 years! I have worked with all ages, from toddlers to adults, and have never met a person that couldn't create. It's in our human nature to invent, construct and respond to our environments. We only need some time, space and encouragement to allow the creative flow to occur.
Recent Solo and Two Person Exhibitions
2021 Edori Fertig: Meditations on Blue, Small House Gallery, curated by Eldi Dundee
2020 HEO, 20 Self Portraits, SLWA, The Omnibus Theatre
2019 Plant Based, Edori Fertig and Greg Becker 2 Girls Café, Peckham, London
2017 Edori Fertig/ Tassie Russell, Dulwich Artists Open House, Dulwich
2016 Nunhead Art Trail Becky Allen, Edori Fertig, London
2016 Narrative Spaces: Edori Fertig and Greg Becker, Jane Newbery Gallery
2013 Forming Narratives Edori Fertig and Greg Becker, Jeannie Avent Gallery, London
2010 Objects of Memory, Greenwich Picture House, London
2012 Dulwich Open House, Dulwich Festival, London
2006 Reconstructions: Gin Dunscombe, Edori Fertig, Nolia’s Gallery
2003 Lifelines, Sartorial Contemporary Art, London, curated by Greta Safarty and Julia Weiner
2003 Edori Fertig: Memory Train, HHR at Riverdale, New York, curated by Susan Putterman
Selected Group Exhibition:
2020 HEO, 20 Self Portraits, SLWA, The Omnibus Theatre
2019 The Bee Show, Dulwich Artists Open House
2019 Ex Voto, SLWA at The Ritzy, London
2018 Strong and Stable, SLWA at Asylum Gallery, London
2018 Silence is Over, SLWA at Portico Gallery, London
2018 Mum Before Me, Jeannie Avent Gallery, London
2015 Death and Transition, SLWA at Gabriel Fine Art, London
2014 Finders Keepers, SLWA at Conway Hall, London
2013 Swimming Against the Tide, SLWA at Hide Gallery, London
2012 I’m Inside Ring the Bell,SLWA London
2012 Snap, South London Women Artists, Bankside Gallery, London
2011 Affordable Art Fair with Art Dog, London
2009-2012 The Alternative Village Fete, National Theatre Square, London
2009-2017 Dulwich Artists Open House,London
2007-2017 Skip Sisters Xmas Show, Jeannie Avent Gallery, London
2004 Winter Exhibition, The Green Space, London
2004 A Time to be Born, Jewish Museum, London
2004 Landscapes and Figures, North House Gallery, Essex
2005 Closing The Door, The Jewish Museum, London
2005 The Green Door, Sartorial Contemporary Art, London
2002-2004 IJAYA, Ben Uri Jewish Museum of Art
2001 Imagining the Body, an exchange exhibition between
Camberwell College of Arts, Kala Bhavana, India and The National Art School, Sydney, Australia
MA4, Camberwell College of Art, London
2000-2003 Camberwell Art Week, Denmark Place Studios, London
2000-2001 National Print Exhibition, The Mall Galleries, London
1998 De Grabadoras Britanicas y Espanolas, The British Council of Madrid and the Office of the Director General of Women’s’ Affairs, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain, Conference and Exhibition
1996-1997 Rubies and Rebels:Jewish Female Identity in Contemporary British Art, curated by Monica Bohm Duchen, Barbican Arts Centre, London, Leeds University Art Gallery, Leeds Hove Museum, Hove
2011 1st Prize, Friends Bicentenary Exhibition, Dulwich Picture Gallery
2007 1st Prize, Nunhead Open , The Surgery, London
2004 IJAYA: International Jewish Artist of the Year Finalist, , Judges’ commendation for submitted work, Ben Uri Gallery, London
1996 Sternberg Prize finalist, Sternberg Centre, London
1992 Paintworks Award, Printmakers Council, National Theatre, London
Reviews/ Articles/ Catalogues:
2019 Urban Nature: London Bridge Hotel Open 3, catalogue
2018 Dulwich OnView, A Reflection on Mum Before Me, Madison Higley
2016 Dulwich OnView, Narrative Spaces Exhibition, Edori Fertig
2016 Borough Belles wordpress, The World is Your Oyster, Sally Sculpthope
2015 Death andTransition, SLWA, catalogue
2014 Reloved, The Creative Guide to Recycling, Skip Sisters, August issue
2014 The Guardian /Do Something, Meet the Skip Sisters, Marisa Bate
2013 Museum of London blog, What Inspired Dorothy Bohm?By Kirsty Marsh
2012 I’m Inside Ring the Bell,SLWA catalogue
2011 Dulwich OnView, South London Women Artists, by Joan Byrne
2011 April Feature- The Upcyclers, BBC Home and Antiques Magazine
2010 Feature article on Skip Sisters, You Magazine
2008 On the Make, feature article, Living South Magazine
2006 Local Artist-Q&A with Edori Fertig, Dulwich Life, December 2006
2005 Outsiders Who Made Britain, Arts Review, The Independent, Michael
Glover, April 2005
2004 Art Expo, Essex County Standard, Ron Sims, September 2004
2004 Winter Hits Dulwich, Southwark Weekender, Michael Holland
2003 Toy Train Exhibit, Riverdale Review, NYC, Marilyn Reinhardt,
2003 Do Memories Define Who We Are? The American, Cy Iravani
2001 Inner Echoes, Artery, Issue 028, Southwark Arts Forum
1999 Women’s Art Library, Bulletin no.10, Pen Dalton
1996 Wallflowers, Victoria Stagg Elliott, New Moon Magazine, July 1996
1996 Impressions Review, “Herstory of Art”, by Julia Weiner, Jewish Chronicle, October 18, 1996
1996 Rubies and Rebels, “Rebellious Rubies, Precious Rebels”, Monica Bohm-Duchen, Lund Humphries
1996 Featured Artist, Jewish Quarterly
1990 Artists Books, Liver and Lights no.4, (collaboration with John Bently) by Cathy Courtney, Art Monthly,
1998-2001 Camberwell College of Art, London, MA Printmaking
1980- 1982 Massachusetts College of Art, USA, MAED Art Education
1975-1979 Rhode Island School of Design, USA, BFA Illustration
I am a member of the collective South London Women Artists. We are a group of women in South London connected through our art and we regularly collaborate through exhibitions, workshops and events.
I have been fascinated by the overlooked and discarded in society and have made drawings, prints and constructions based on this theme over many years. In 2006, I started an art collective called Skip Sisters, a collective of artists and designers whose name is inspired by our interest in using materials of humble origin in our creations. The skips of South London became our canvas.
I am also one half of Deptford Wives, a South London musical duo who wryly and dryly chart a musical course through the perils of the modern middle age. We’re available to sing at parties, functions or any occasion where music is the answer.
I’m a regular participant in the annual Dulwich Artists’ Open House festival and also the Nunhead Art Trail. You can find out a bit more about me in this interview with Larissa Scotting, for the Trail.
This interview was originally published on the Nunhead Art Trail website.
Edori Fertig is a previous participant in the Nunhead Art Trail. We meet on a Thursday evening in her beautiful East Dulwich home, where she’s lived for 30 years with her partner. She tells me it’s changed very little since then — their only “renovation” was installing a new unit in the kitchen. It’s perfect just the way it is. It’s had 30 years of character permeating its floors and ceilings and staircases and walls.
Edori’s art is as characterful as her home, as magical as her name (invented by her parents), and as colourful as she is. We talk over a cup of tea about the fantastic jackets she’s designed for her band, the importance of recycling in art, and the way South East London continually inspires her and her artwork.
How long have you lived in South East London? Where have you lived previously?
We’ve lived in this house since 1988. Before that, I was in Deptford in a housing coop, and before that, I was in Boston, and before that, Rhode Island.
When did you first think “I want to be an artist”?
The age of five, four, three. That’s all I wanted to do. I was a kid drawing with pen in little notebooks and it’s all I wanted to do.
Which artists inspired your early years of artwork?
Frida Kahlo was a predominant influence because I loved how personal her work is, the surreal aspect of it, the colour, the Mexican influence, the folk art influence… A mixture of her, and maybe Picasso, Matisse, Chagall.
Which artists inspire you now?
Recently, with the jackets, I’ve been looking at more textiles-based people, in particular Nudie Cohn. He was a Hollywood tailor. I sing in a band, and the band wanted these Nudie-style suits. We were doing a take on country Western and everyone wanted these very elaborate jackets. Before that, I’d started a group called Skip Sisters and we used to make things out of rubbish.
Why out of rubbish?
I like anything made out of humble materials. I like that you can find a jacket in a charity shop and you can just fix it up — I love going to Deptford Market and really finding a bargain. A lot of art, for me, starts from a found object. It’s about seeing what it says to me and elevating its status into something precious, when it might have been overlooked initially. The jackets are all about making something out of very little, in that way.
I love that — you’re recycling materials and giving the objects a new life.
And it’s a political statement, too, I suppose. Why create new things when we have so much stuff already in the world, things that have hardly any life? It’s used once and then thrown away. I’m interested in a culture of slow and thoughtful, rather than quick and throwaway. That’s what I try to instil in my students — we spent a whole unit just on cardboard recently.
Your artworks are incredibly diverse — you use so many different mediums. Is that fluidity important to you and to your art?
I wish I could stick to one thing! But my nature just doesn’t tend that way. I’m a multitasker. I start one thing on the kitchen table, then I start at something else, then I move to another place and do something different. I grab time all over the place and do a million things at a time.
As educators, you have to know a little bit about a lot of things. I test things out to teach the kids and I run with it then run on to another thing. I wish I could be on one trajectory, but it’s never worked for me. In one day, I’ll do a drawing, write lyrics for a new song, practice singing, do an illustration… I’ll make a pair of earrings or figure out what to do with all these plastic bags lying around. This weekend, I’m learning how to make patches at the London Embroidery Studio.
What advice would you give someone deciding they want to be an artist today?
Marry money! [Laughs.]
You will always be an artist if you keep your imagination open and you work at it, like anything else in life. If you can, try to maybe find another way — commercial arts, maybe — of making a living, because it’s virtually impossible. There are over 50,000 artists in London alone. How many of them are able to make a living from their art? Most will be teaching or doing something else alongside their art. My husband was a housing officer. Caroline [Hughes], one of the organisers of the Nunhead Art Trail] was a housing officer. Nick [Cobb, Caroline’s partner and another organiser] teaches.
What advice would you give someone struggling to be an artist, then?
Everything you do should be artistic. It should be thoughtful and individual. That can shine through.
Unfortunately, artists frequently aren’t valued as much as other professions may be valued. The Nunhead Art Trail is a wonderful way of connecting with other artists and giving each other and each other’s work value, meaning, a purpose — it’s for the community. And it brightens lives.
Why do you think art and artists are valuable to a community?
Artists are the ones who have always recycled, in part because we never have money! We’re inventive and we think outside the box. We’re great illusionists. And some of the struggle makes good art sometimes. [Laughs.]
Art is an equaliser. It’s democratic. Everybody can do it — it’s a bridge maker. It should create bridges, connect languages, connect ideas, create and build instead of alienating and dividing.
How has the South East London community inspired and informed your art?
Whenever anybody was doing up their houses, I would collect lino from their homes and make mosaics out of them. My art is physically rooted in my friends’ homes in the area. I did a whole series called Nunhead Walls, which were composites of wallpapers from houses and photographs I found in markets around South London. I’m inspired by the past and history of this area, and those old photographs became a literal part of the fabric of our home here.
Things I found in the garden became things, too — my garden is a constant source of joy, I’m always drawing it and making it. Then there’s the markets, the charity shops. I’m very influenced by South East London.
I love that you’ve incorporated other people’s histories — their memories, their photographs — into your artwork, giving it a new life.
People have had to become very economical about what they keep and what they’re sentimental about. You’ll find photo albums at the market where people wrote on the back of each picture and then they wound up in the market — that’s somebody’s whole history and story! There’s something very tragic about it. I call it urban archaeology. And so I make something out of it so I can give it new meaning.
I think artists are actually natural collectors and hoarders — maybe less so now, in the digital era — but you’re drawn to objects all the time and you see treasures that people will overlook.
What is most special about inviting someone into your home or studio during the Nunhead Art Trail?
It’s like inviting people into your internal world — it can feel very vulnerable. The more you do it, the easier it gets, but it’s still very revealing. It can give new meaning and value to your art because someone else has a response to it. For me, that’s very positive because you’ve communicated something outside of yourself. If I make work but nobody sees it, the process isn’t complete for me.
You’re never finished — I’ve never felt like anything I’ve exhibited is good enough, I always think it could be better or bigger. But that’s the constant journey.
What are your favourite spots in the area?
The Ivy House, definitely! Peckham Rye. North Cross Road on a Saturday. The swimming baths at Dulwich Leisure Centre. Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Horniman Museum, Deptford Market…