Because I got fed up with waiting for the projects to be completed in the workshop. I have been designing commercial artefacts for years- lamps, furniture, interiors, even architecture- not by myself but in duet with Wojtek- my husband, father of our children, business partner and buddy in sport and tipple; namely, the co-author of everything that has been created in Manufactura 69. We make designs together but the actual work in the carpentry workshop has always been his domain. In the beginning it was all smooth sailing and we furnished the hotel, the house and a couple other places, then we lost the momentum but the objects kept accumulating and creating more and more things just because you can did not make much sense. Simultaneously, the objects that had been created earlier started to show wear and tear and our work focused on maintenance and keeping the collection in good condition. Suddenly all the new ideas were put on the back burner- Wojtek was busy with the daily tasks but I began to feel smothered by the never-ending waiting for free capacities in the workshop to implement new projects. So I started to look around for a new venue for my pent up emotions, for an opportunity to do something that would be an independent act, free of any influence exerted by anyone and anything.
Years ago, I used to make clothes of my own design- sweaters, dresses, any article of clothing that could be made out of knitted wool. And lo and behold, I had had a very similar experience- as long as I was able to design and make the things myself I was happy and fulfilled, but the moment my designs were produced by my employees and I got stuck dealing with supplies, production coordination and sales I felt boxed in and had to run away. And now the past came to haunt me. Galery69 is a fruit of our artistic endeavours but I have become its administrator leaving my artistic inspirations further and further behind. It has dawned on me that fulfillment is solely obtainable only if I turn my thoughts into tangible things using my own hands.
Since the very beginning of our journey as designers we have been accompanied by our friends the painters. Painting has been ever present in our lives and we have created a friendly place for the arts with me playing the role of a curator. I was the one responsible for evaluation, selection and giving the seal of approval to each piece of art that found save heaven in our gallery. For the last twenty years I have been the custodian, studying and contemplating modern and non-contemporary art. It seems that I may even have quite a few smart opinions to voice on that matter but I have also reached a conclusion that having critiqued so many works of art it is time to pick up the brush myself. Another reason is that all these years of delving into paintings have not provided me with answers too many unsettling questions.
By the time you will have read this introduction, I will have been painting for four months. I have painted 30 pictures; and yes, pictures are countable, but what is most precious, and uncountable, is the myriad of times when the awareness flared and the moment I took first steps on a new, undiscovered land.
Having been the other part of Manufactura69 duet for many years, I am delighted to have something for myself only. No more questions about how it feels to design together, no more queries whether this stroke is mine or Wojtek’s – not that it has ever bothered me because as we designed we literarily passed one pencil from hand to hand, so the inquiry was immaterial, but if one can be given a piece of canvas for oneself only, then it is time to fly solo. Why Bernhardt? Because it is my family name, and since in the wide, wide world no one can say ‘Małgorzata”, simply call me Meggy.