Saturday, 31 May 2014

Guest Artist For June Georgie Woolridge

         Our Guest artist for the month of June is Georgie Woolridge read below to find out more:

          Who are you and what do you do?

I am Georgie Woolridge, an artist based in Cheltenham. I aim to produce drawings that evoke the beauty of nature using black fine liner, watercolours and pro marker pens. My passion for art has been sparked by my experiences at Loughborough University and through global travelling. In addition, I love hot ribena, minstrels and sweet and sour chicken!  

 What’s your background?

 I attended Art Foundation at Cheltenham in 2006 where I was able to try out different areas of art including graphics, sculpture and textiles.  At this point I wasn't entirely sure which direction I wanted to go in, but when I started to experiment with my textiles I knew it had to be that. I then went onto Loughborough University to study Woven Textiles in 2007. I absolutely loved the course, as I was able to produce material from scratch. The technical side of setting up a loom was fiddly and it would take weeks to complete a set of samples from the same warp, but the end results were amazing.
 Each project would be different and the end weaves would have to represent the colours, textures and patterns that were present in my drawings and research. I loved the challenge of this and believe it really pushed me to think outside my comfort zone. I was able to hand dye my own yarns too, which was so much fun attempting to end up with the exact colours I wanted. I didn't mix well with science at school so I have to admit I don’t think I did the calculations right at all! But seemed to end up with good results.
 I graduated in 2010 with a 2:1. Although I loved my course, I was still unsure about the direction I wanted to go in job wise. But the opportunity arose to spend 3 months on a design placement in Mumbai, India. It was for an interiors design company. I had nothing to lose so I decided to go through the interview process and amazingly got a place!

 It was one of the most incredible experiences I have had but also one of the toughest! I produced hand drawn designs, in repeat, for drapery, upholstery and embroidery. I found it really challenging as my style tended to be more contemporary, whereas they had a very traditional outlook with their own designs. I remember the first time one of my designs was produced into a piece of fabric. Every designer and the manager had to stand round a large table in silence, while a couple of them held up the fabrics at the front waiting for his comments on whether he liked it or not. Mine was up next and I was terrified what he was going to think! I got through it though and I grew in confidence as the weeks went on. I managed to get some of my designs into their catalogues and for me that was all I wanted… To see my designs in fabric, which would then end up in someone’s home!
 After the 3 months in Mumbai, I then went on to travel around the world. Places included Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. I think this gave me the break I needed to really think about what I wanted to do in the long run. I arrived back in England and I just started to draw…

 What art do you most identify with?

 I most identify with art that is visually beautiful. It doesn't have to have a meaning behind it, but something that captures colour and movement especially. 

  What work do you most enjoying doing?

 I mostly enjoy working with intricate patterns. I can just put on some music and sit there for hours drawing tiny patterns with my favourite black fine liner. Most of the time I don't realise how much time has gone by! I think my Woven Textiles course gave me a great amount of patience as I was dealing with hundreds of yarns at a time. I enjoy seeing my drawings evolve from a few tiny patterns to the finished piece.

 What themes do you pursue?

 Most of my work is based around things in nature including flowers, butterflies, animals and especially birds. When I first started drawing on my return from travelling, I mostly drew flowers with patterns mixed in together. I wasn't really drawing anything in particular. I then wanted to translate my patterns into something and started with a hummingbird. This is where my love for drawing birds really started. The shapes of the feathers just seemed to fit with my style of drawing. And the colours I could bring into them too, of course!
 I still have a love for flowers as well, and in some of my recent work I combine paisley patterns with the flowers, inside birds… very tricky! I don’t really want to be conventional with what I do, I prefer to take something and then put my own spin on it. For example, the colours don’t have to be the same, and the sizes of the different flowers don’t have to correlate to how they actually are in nature.
 Furry animals are also something I am getting to grips with. I discovered that my paisley patterns, when used in the right way, emulate fur perfectly. The trickiest part is getting the patterns to move in different directions to create the movement.
 I am always looking for something new to draw. I wonder what it will be next!

  Why art?

 I have never really been good with words, but from a young age I knew that art was something I wanted to do and I could express myself in this way. I was lucky enough to have a great art teacher at school, who really pushed and encouraged me. I wasn’t the most confident person so this really helped me to believe in the ability I had.
 I have mentioned this a lot, but colour just captivates me… I could just sit and stare at something colourful for hours! So what better way to translate this into something I love doing.

What inspires you?

 Birds have become my biggest inspiration. Just all the different colours and shapes really make me want to draw them. India has been a big inspiration to me as well. Just walking through the streets you have all the women in their beautiful saris and even the things they sell in the markets.
 I have recently traveled to Morocco and the souks are an absolute cave of beauty! I am yet to draw on my experience from there, but I am sure in the future I will have a Moroccan style collection!

  Favourite or most inspirational place ?

 My favourite place to be in is Cornwall, on any beach. Although there are certain things physically that inspire me, it’s more a place I can just sit and think. Of course I love a tropical beach with palm trees and coconuts, but Cornwall just seems to relax me. I love watching the waves crash against the rocks. And you can also get the best fried doughnuts with jam and clotted cream…amazing!

 What’s the best piece of advice you've been given?

 The best piece of advice I have been given is to just be myself in everything I do.

  Professionally, what’s your goal?

 Professionally, my goal is to be a well-known artist/designer. I would love to see my collections translated into soft furnishings and other products. For me, the best thing about what I do is knowing that people have my artwork in their homes. I love what I do, and it makes me happy that other people do as well. So my other goal is to reach more homes around the world. 

      Thank you Georgie! 
      The gallery is open 10 -5 Tuesday to Saturday. There has been a few big changes to the layout along with much more art, gifts and jewellery added to the displays. More seating has been allocated for our Quick Cuppa so why not pop over and spend some time viewing the amazing art work as well as viewing gallery owner Karina at work on her new range of oil paintings.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

See Louise MacIntosh-Watson's Batiks During Derbyshire Open Arts May Artist in the Window

We are fortunate to have Louise MacIntosh-Watson as one of our artists in the window this month of May, if you are visiting us this Derbyshire Open Arts weekend you will be able to see her colourful work alongside Susan Hill and don't forget we have our guest artist Louise Rawlings wonderful paintings on display inside the gallery.
Artists taking part in Derbyshire Open Arts are:

Karina Goodman
Ruth Gray
Janice Allen
Mandy jayne Alhfors
Ellie Depp
Valerie Dalling
Helen Dolmeo
Helen Rhodes
Dianna Lee 

To find out more about our artists read the three previous blogs, meanwhile we asked Louise what inspires her to produce such fantastic vibrant work:

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Louise MacIntosh-Watson and I am fortunate and privileged to be a full time artist. I use the batik technique of layering hot wax and coloured dyes on paper or fabric to create vibrant, eye-catching pieces. I also love to paint with bold flat colour, usually acrylic on canvas.

What’s your background?

I was born in Liverpool in the 1970s. I have lived in a variety of areas since then, including Middlesbrough and Wakefield, before settling in Derby ten years ago. Following my Interior Architecture degree I spent 17 years as a high school art teacher. There were aspects of teaching that I loved but I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated in wanting to develop my own artwork and not having the time to do it. I was known around school as ‘Miss Mac’ and decided to use this name when I officially started my company ‘missmacdesigns’ in 2012.

What inspires you?

Having worked with the national curriculum for so many years I got into an excellent habit of researching a wide variety of artists, both traditional and contemporary, to create inspirational starting points for my students. As a working artist this practice is invaluable. I am constantly inspired by the art around me and the wealth of emerging artists to be found online. I am currently developing a body of work inspired by one of my all-time favourite artists Niki de Saint Phalle and a more recent discovery, Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto. Both of these artists have a dynamic relationship with colour and have not been afraid to use heavy black outlines to unite the colours.

How do you work?

I primarily work in batik. This is a traditional Indonesian technique of adding decorative images to cloth using wax and natural dyes. I use the technique in a more contemporary way by layering wax and colourful inks on to paper as well as fabric. The wax works as a resist to the inks, creating a barrier against further colour. I use brushes or specialist tools known as tjantings to apply the wax. It can be a tricky technique to work with but once you have mastered the process, it is hugely addictive.
While batik is a thriving industry in its homeland, it is dying out in the UK with less and less people taking up this amazingly addictive art form. Parallel to exhibiting my batiks, I have recently begun to offer workshops to hopefully ignite this flame in others.
I also love to paint. I paint with a fairly graphic style using bold, strong flat colours with sharp, neat outlines. My recent series of paintings focusses on fantasy gardens with big red and white polka dot lollipop toadstools, giant daisies and simple circular flowers. I add to the fantasy feeling with highlights of sparkly glitter textured paints which catch the light beautifully.

What themes do you pursue?

Being only two years in to my new career, my style is still developing and the content of my artwork
tends to flit around a bit. I am drawn to the simplicity of heart and flower shapes but also like to
experiment with abstract mark making. The theme that is always constant is colour. The most
consistent remark from customers and gallery owners is that my work is very bright and cheerful. I
have been interested in Johannes Itten and his colour theories for over 20 years. The relationships
between colours and how they can look different according to the spatial ratio and placement next
to other colours is mind boggling – sorry, my colour geekiness is threatening to take over!

What do you dislike about the art world?

There is so much to love about my new found place within the art world – the sheer liberation of
painting all day long, and bringing genuine joy to people when you deliver a commission, when you
have realised their vision in your own unique style, being just two of them.
The thing I hate most about the art world would have to be the evolving definition and
interpretation of art itself. If I go to an art exhibition I want to learn from it, to be awestruck by the
skill level on show or the quirky, clever idea realised with great technical ability. Instead, I frequently
find myself dumbstruck by a pile of clothes folded in a corner of a room (Tate Liverpool) or a
darkened room lined with black fur (Goldsmiths Degree Show). I don’t appreciate having my time
wasted by such novelty art, a talking point maybe, but a learning point, never.

Professionally, what’s your goal?

My long term goal is to become a world renowned Batik artist! (No point in dreaming small now is
there?!) I am a member of the Batik Guild – an organisation which promotes and celebrates the
work of batik artists in the UK and across the globe. I am currently producing large scale batiks on
fabric for an exhibition with them later in the year. Following this exhibition I will be pursuing further
gallery representation here and overseas.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Derbyshire Open Arts Part 3 at Studio 61 Gallery

This is the third and final blog showcasing the artists taking part in Derbyshire Open Arts this May at Studio 61 Gallery, each year we aim to bring you a variety of styles by emerging and established artists, below are the artists statements and works by three of those taking part this year.

Ruth Gray

Ruth is a town and landscape artist working mainly in Interactive Atelier Acrylic and produces paintings that at first glance could be mistaken for far more glamorous climes when in fact many are local scenes of everyday towns in Derbyshire. Ruth also produces more abstract mixed media work of British landscapes she has visited. Ruth has just finished her Ripley Rattler series which will be shown at DH Lawrence museum in Eastwood during June and July. Currently working to commission with plans for a new series of work that will be displayed in 2016.

Ruth is part of the g2g group that promotes the work of artists that show work at Studio 61 Gallery and Cromford Studio and Gallery as well as help promote the historic surrounding area in between. Ruth is also a co opted member of Derbyshire Open Arts and is assisting running the social media for 2014. Always keen to use her knowledge and network to help out at events and recently was a member of the steering committee for Art in the Round run by Derby College.
New for this year has been demonstrations for small local art groups and workshops for Nottingham arts organisations. Ruth's work has been exhibited in Sydney, London and she has taken part in over 100 shows both in the UK and Australia during the last ten years.

‘Artywood’ by Dianna Lee

Dianna's varied work includes murals, illustrations, slate and wood art.
Her oak original paintings and prints from her full range will be on display at Studio 61 this year for Derbyshire Open Arts.
The wood art is painted onto oak panels suitable for internal and external displays.
These paintings use the wood grain to enhance the picture with wood dyes, inks and oils for water, meadows or landscapes.

She paints these oak images from inspiration from the natural habitat, unlike her illustrations which are mainly fictional or inspired by current trends in lifestyle.
Using both oak and slate makes her paintings versatile. The wood paintings can be as large as 4’ x 8’, some of which have been commissioned for displays outside creating the effect of an external mural.

She qualified as a clothing designer and interior designer in 1990 and worked for High Street brands for many years. Her experience in both design areas has provided the flair and knowledge that she has today to produce these pieces of art available from ‘Artywood.’

Karina Goodman

Studio 61 is a working art studio and gallery in the Derbyshire Dales featuring the watercolours and oils of Artist Karina Goodman.
My inspiration comes from the varied landscapes and landmarks and a love of the sea and Cornwall, always with the emphasis on colour and atmosphere.
I specialise in watercolours and recently started using oils as I felt I wanted to create more depth of colour and texture. My watercolours are colourful and quirky or atmospheric using different types of salts, squirting lots of water and then waiting to see the results. I am fascinated with ravaged trees and skies and this is reflected in my more atmospheric watercolours.

My passion for walking gives me the opportunity to acquire some amazing photographs and my landscapes are mainly from photos taken whilst out walking or from images floating around in my head...

I would describe my life as happy and hectic! With two teenagers, a busy husband, a dog and running my business, time is of an essence; my days out walking are 'recharging the batteries ‘days.

Derbyshire Open Arts Weekend takes place 24th - 26th May 10 - 5 pm everyone is welcome to join us and refreshments will be available.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Derbyshire Open Arts Part 2 at Studio 61 Gallery

This is the second blog showcasing the artists taking part in Derbyshire Open Arts this May at Studio 61 Gallery, each year we aim to bring you a variety of styles by emerging and established artists, below are the artists statements and works by three of those taking part this year.

Helen Rhodes. 

A love of textiles leads to it always being present in anything I do.  I love of nature has the same result so to combine the two I create needle felted art. I ‘paint’ with pre dyed merino wool that I blend  by traditional combing to create the desired shades and I then use a barbed felting needle to pin the wool to a background fabric. 

Ellie Depp

A self-taught artist from Derbyshire, England. She creates abstract works in acrylic and watercolour, and is particularly known for her striking use of colour.
Depp draws a lot of her inspiration from the Peak District and works of other artists. After dropping out of University and suffering with depression for many years she decided to explore her creative side with painting. It became a great therapy for her mental illnesses and in 2013 she started her own business. She began to explore new techniques using palette knives and ‘pouring’ acrylic paint mixed with mediums to create fluidity and movement in her pieces.

Depp has exhibited in Leeds, York, Sheffield, Derbyshire and London and is now currently working on her next series of paintings and art events. She is hosting The Chesterfield Art and Craft Fair on Saturday 31st May and The Depp Pop Up Shop in Sheffield on 18/19/20th June. 

Janice Allen

From 5’ painted canvasses, painted glass panels to small glass and silver jewellery pendants and earrings all have a common theme, which is texture.  With the flow of inks on the canvas or the different size pieces of glass which melt in my kiln I never know how a piece will turn out.

I enjoy exploring new techniques whilst working some of my new work will be with me at Derbyshire Open Arts g2g event at Studio 61 Holloway.
If you have seen a piece of artwork on my website you would specifically like to view please send me an email and if I have the piece in my workshop I will bring it along to the event.   

 Derbyshire Open Arts will take place 24th - 26th of May 10 - 5 pm all are welcome and refreshments will be available.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Derbyshire Open Arts Part 1 at Studio 61 Gallery

This is the first of three blogs showcasing the work and artists statements of those taking part in Derbyshire Open Arts at Studio 61 this year. Every year we aim to bring you a mix of established and emerging talent with a variety of work and styles on show.

Helen Domleo

I am a South African jeweller, with a passion for sustainability, living a predominantly outdoor lifestyle in Nottinghamshire, UK. My jewellery is designed to be a practical adornment and can be worn whilst enjoying an active lifestyle.
Inspiration for my work comes from the pods, leaves and other natural objects around me, and from my earlier work in the African bush.
I form and shape each piece, patterning the surfaces using hammers and other tools. Patterns can be imprinted, using a rolling mill, with a selection of fabrics, leaves or other fibres, or by hammering and stamping, to create rich textures. I add colour by using copper, brass and beads from natural materials or glass.

I studied silver smithing in Sumatra, Indonesia between graduating in archaeology and anthropology, and returning to Johannesburg as Curator of the Ethnology Collection at Museum Africa. My extensive travels and love of traditional African art forms have had a lasting influence on my work.
I regularly teach jewellery-making which I find inspiring because it gives me the opportunity to explore my medium whilst helping pupils create pieces they love and enjoy wearing.

Mandy Jayne Alfhors

Mandy has exhibited her art since 2007 & includes East Midlands Airport for the DepARTures exhibition in 2012.
Her Dreamy Landscapes & Seascapes are impressionistic unusual blends of expressive colour. Taking inspiration from the Impressionists, Pop Artists: Hockney, Warhol and colourist Matisse.
Mandy’s art covers a wide range of subject from landscape, seascape to portrait inspired by life, changing elements of light through the day, seasons, colour & nature. Her paintings are often described as beautifully ethereal  and that of a colourist painter. 

An associate member of  the Gallery2Gallery group Mandy tweets for @gallery2gallery a collaboration between Studio 61 Gallery  & Cromford Art Gallery & Studio  she actively promotes the trail between two the galleries a trail of history, culture and natural historical World Heritage.
Buy Online
Valerie Dalling

Visual Artist/Photographer
In 2003 Derbyshire artist Valerie Dalling embarked on three years of study at the University of Derby in order to pursue her passion for fine art photography. Since starting out on her creative path, Valerie has been inspired by many, but the landscape will always remain her biggest influence and where she feels most at home…a selection of limited edition photographic prints and greetings cards will be available for purchase during Derbyshire Open Arts.
Valerie is particularly interested in project-based work from arts in health and coastal erosion to her latest drive time journeys by car around the Peak District. 

She enjoys working with the community, and in 2008 founded The Image Club, launching her first monthly photo forum. From beginners to those with photographic experience, she has a particular interest in how others visually respond to the world around them, and encourages discussions on image making, through the sharing of ideas and knowledge, in relaxed and informal environments.
Valerie is also known for her walks with the camera, and would welcome the opportunity to take a walk in the landscape with you, your friends or a group you may be associated with…just give her a call.
07969 324489
twitter - @valeriedalling

Derbyshire Open Arts Weekend takes place 24th - 26th May 10 - 5 pm everyone is welcome to join us and refreshments will be available.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Artist in the Window Susan Hill

May is a very busy month and blogs coming up will be three featuring our artists that are taking part in Derbyshire Open Arts which takes place 24th - 26th of May.
We have two artists in our window during May the first we will showcase here is Susan Hill later in the month we will introduce the other Louise MacIntosh Watson. Below is our interview with Susan.

 Susan Hill

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Susan Hill, a jewellery designer maker, working in both sterling silver and gold.   I  have been designing and creating handcrafted jewellery for a number of years.  All my work is made with hand tools using traditional silversmithing techniques.  My aim is that my jewellery has a style that is recognised as my own,  the design of the majority of my work being simple classic designs, with the main design feature being contrasting textures and finishes of the silver and gold. 
I also run jewellery & silversmithing workshops from my studio, which I love, as it gives me the opportunity to pass on my enthusiasm for jewellery making and helps people realise how achievable great results are. 

How has your practice changed over time?
I have been designing and making my jewellery for a number of years, having started originally on a vocational basis when my children were young.   When I first began, I made and sold my jewellery to family and friends, then gradually increased this to include local fairs.  As my sales started to increase I was very lucky to be offered the opportunity to work from a friend’s converted barn while my friend was busy with her sewing at the same time.  My sales and network of customers went from strength to strength so around 18 months ago I took what felt like a big step to rent a studio at Banks Mill Studios, Derby.  Since this time I haven’t looked back;  I absolutely love working from my studio and am very pleased to say I am now so busy with my jewellery and workshops that it is now my full-time profession and I now don’t have enough hours in the week!

How do you work
I always have lots of new ideas for pieces that I would to make and develop, which I jot  down on bits of paper as the ideas often come to me while I am out and about, for instance if I am driving and I am just thinking round ideas to do with my jewellery.  I sometimes get frustrated as I don’t have time to work on and develop new designs as I am too busy with orders (which I know is a good problem to have!)  Once I do start working on new ideas they invariably do not end up the same as their original design as I amend details as I am making, sometimes to improve the design and sometimes just because I have had a different idea along the way.  

What work do you most enjoy doing?
I have made a few sets of ‘his and hers’ wedding rings recently and I always feel so honored to be asked to make what is probably the most personal piece of jewellery that anyone ever buys!  The couples coming to select their rings are always so excited and I love having a little insight into their forthcoming wedding day.  The thought that the couple will wear and see their rings that I made every day makes me feel very proud!

What themes/fashions do you pursue?
I don’t tend to think of my jewellery as being fashion-led as it is mostly of  a classic style, but if I see pieces or photos of my jewellery from a few years ago I realise that it has changed in style over this time.  I think in part this is my own distinctive style developing,  but there is also an element of changing fashions and styles being ‘in’ or ‘out’.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by feeling successful in what I am doing, and feeling proud of my jewellery when people are happy they have bought a piece, either for themselves or as a gift.

Is the artistic life lonely?  What do you do to counteract it?
I find that when I am in my studio working on pieces, time goes so incredibly quickly as I am so absorbed in my work I never have time to be lonely!  One big advantage of my studio being at Banks Mill Studios is that I enjoy spending  time alone working in my studio, but there are people around for when you want to step outside your work ‘zone’ and switch off for a little while for a chat and a quick coffee!

What do you like about your work?
One area of my work that I particularly enjoy is running my workshops.  Everyone who comes to a class is really motivated and excited about making their own jewellery pieces.  They then have the complete satisfaction of making a piece of jewellery they are quite rightly very proud of.

Favourite or most inspirational place?
My favourite place is around Padstow in Cornwall.  I have been going there with my family for a number of years and we just love the contrasting coastline, from beautiful sandy bays to big dramatic cliffs and sea.

What’s the best piece of advice you've been given/would give?

The best piece of advice I would offer to someone is to treat all sales of your work ,  however big or small, as important as each other and put the same level of care into each piece as you never know what opportunities or orders may follow from people seeing and being happy with your work. 

Thank you Susan!
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