21 January 2011

Gillian Bates Interview

I'm down in the seaside town of Eastbourne with Gillian Bates and my latest creative interview. Gillian's info on her site describes herself as a little bit obsessed and can go funny around fabric!

The only thing she enjoys more than adding to her ever-growing collection of vintage and reclaimed fabrics is rummaging through them all to find just the right piece to integrate into her latest textile art canvas.

Gillian's obsession for all things textiles led her to successfully gaining a BA(Hons) in Textile and Surface Design in 2007. During her studies she was extremely pleased to be shortlisted for the RSA Fashion Interiors Bursary Award.

She's now very happy to be indulging her passion working as a full-time artist, creating contemporary textile art from her studio in East Sussex.

I just want to thank Gillian for taking the time in her very busy schedule to answer these questions and allow me to include images of her work. So, here they are:-
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started?

My real passion is for drawing and but while completing my textile degree in 2007 I completely fell in love with all things textile. I'm just like a child in a sweet shop and have a large and ever growing collection of fabrics, buttons and threads anything I can lay my hands on. I once read you need to be a bit of a magpie as a textile artist and this is so true! So machine embroidery seemed to be the perfect vehicle for my passion and my obsessions.
What can you absolutely not live without?

I hate to say this as it sounds such a cliche but it's got to be my computer. Only a few years ago the thought of even trying to turn on a computer completely perplexed me and now it's the heart of my business.

Not only for the promotional side (A business website and social networking Facebook and Flickr are almost compulsory these days) but the access my business now has to the rest of the world is mind blowing. I've had two exhibitions in America I could of never of dreamt of such success without the internet.
Tea jenny of coffee junkie?

TEA!!!! Oh tea nearly made it to the thing I couldn't live without. In fact my family bought me for Christmas a bell you ring if you want tea...every home should have one!
This might be difficult to answer but, right now, who is that one particular person who inspires you?

I've had a good think about this one and rather amusingly I'm going to say Rolf Harris! I grew up on a daily tea time dose of Rolf's Cartoon time and his 'Can you tell what it is yet' massive canvases made art so accessible to a young me. I love the freedom he has with the brush and paint letting an image emerge from the canvas creating an impression rather than a true representation.

It's something I try to portray in my work, I build up layers of coloured fabrics and draw and define the image with my machine stitched line as if it were my pencil or brush stroke
What do you love most about what you do?

Sometimes I'm so busy it's hard to remember how much I love what I do.
One of the most amazing things is I get to visiting some of the most picturesque places in England as my job which is always a reminder of how lucky I am, as you stroll around a harbour on hot summers Monday morning.

If you didn't do what you do what else would you be?

I'm really not sure what I'd be doing if I wasn't a textile artist, I always knew I wanted to do something creative. But I do love to cook and even considered a career in catering as a school leaver, but I also wanted to be a nurse until I realised I couldn't stand the sight of blood.
What's next for you in 2011?

I've got some exciting new ideas for expanding my ranges this year. I think it's always good to keep pushing what you do not only for your own sanity but also your customers love to follow how your work evolves.

Who do you think I should interview?

I can't think of anyone in particular who I'd like you to interview but I love to buy art. One of my latest additions to my wish list is a painter called Lisa Green's work and I've also recently purchased as a present a Mark Perronet print which I also love!
Mark Perronet
Any advice for Ziggy

My advice to Ziggy is find a lovely girl bunny and do what rabbits do best.

Gillian's links -



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