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.