Life has its ups and downs, but I am blessed with wonderful friends and family and in my working life continued opportunites to inspire others, with beautiful art and objects.
If I look back, there is one thing that has propelled my working and personal life and I think it's the desire to create impacts, to make changes which are, as I see it, of benefit to others.
I started out as a teacher of French and German in secondary schools and as one colleague told me, I gave it over 100%, striving to get the best possible results for my students and seeking to inspire them to learn about life and make good choices. I was fortunate enough to get into management positions where I could do what I loved to do.
|The Art and Antiques Bug|
Another colleague also told me however, that I was always looking for something else and my career veered off in a totally different direction.
In 1994 I bought a period house and before you know it, I'd started a little antiques business totally obsessed by beautiful objects and the cut and thrust of buying and selling at international antiques fairs. I could not get enough knowledge handling pots, glass, furniture, anything I could get my hands on at auctions, sales, fairs. And I read and read and read. I started to offer brand new luxury gift products too, and I continue that here from this online shop with the lovely Culinary Concepts ranges.
I finally left the 'chalk face' as we used to call it in 2008 with a thirst to study again and concentrate on the more professional aspects of art, antiques and decorative objects. I spent 2 years studying the art market. I learned so much...oh so much with a brilliant course tutor who really inspired me. Equipped with a Masters in Arts Market Appraisal, what then indeed?
|Opening Art Galleries|
In 2010, just by chance, I popped into a quaint little tearoom in my home town and asked if they would be interested in displaying and selling my Culinary Concepts range. By the end of the encounter, we had agreed to start up an art gallery in the space upstairs. I founded and managed Harriet's Art Gallery for a year. I got together a group of 30 artists and makers from the area, which was pretty straight forward as I had been involved in Artists' Open Studios events too at the time. Moreover I'd introduced an art editorial to a brilliant regional magazine The Moment and got artists and makers to run ads which we offered at huge discount prices....them being poor artists an' all that!!!
The gallery achieved great success in a short space of time, and I realised I was putting art on the economic map, something that had been sadly missing. I was making art accessible in the city centre and getting people to buy it. It was verty exciting.
|Art in the Heart Gallery|
The tearoom had to close and I was invited to roll out a project with the Tourist Information Centre, exhibiting and selling art and craft. And there I founded Art in the Heart with 13 artists and makers, all committed to bringing aspiration to a city, which at the time was lacking art, culture and individuality despite it boasting one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the country.
Then in January 2102,out of the blue it seemed, the Council offered me a very large empty shop on the high street, which I called of course Art in the Heart. From there, along with a band of trusted volunteers, we exhibited and sold the work of 85 artists and makers, staged many exhibitions, art demonstrations and workshops while offering many ranges of quirky individual gifts sourced from artisans across the UK and from around the globe. People said that it was more than a gallery and a shop more a one off and experience. Of course my passion for antiques had to take a back seat. I suppose it was growing and growing and growing and I thus launched the online shop .
We were obliged to move premises in 2016 and we had another wonderful one and a half years in a lovely little shop along a quaint arcade just off the main shopping centre. In January 2018, personal circumstance led me to close the doors to the physical sapce. It was sad but so much had been achieved from the artist community in the area and by people who were inspired to support something great in the city.
|The Art in the Heart Marketplace|
Now I am focussing on the wonderful online shop The Art in the Heart Marketplace and a new project Art in Shop Windows in partnership with Queensgate Shopping Centre, where I exhibit beautiful art and craft by my artists and makers in empty shop windows. I couldn't bare to starve our city of physical exhibitions on the high street. And of course I continue to offer a huge range of Culinary Concepts silver plated and stainless steel dining and giftware right here from this lovely little online shop
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