For those of you who don't know, I'm Megan, founder of Thrive and artist. This weeks blog post is slightly different as it's normally me asking the questions, instead, today I'm going to tell you a little bit about myself as I will be exhibiting my own artwork at the shop from the 3rd-18th of September.
Creativity has always been part of my life, I have never been overly academic and instead was always drawn to art, design, dance and theatre. After deferring a university course to study costume design I completed an Art Foundation, after which I attended Brighton University to study Performance and Visual Arts (Theatre). The course for me, felt like an encompassing of the two paths I loved, art and design and theatre. Both its success and failure was its broad nature, to encourage freedom and a platform to devise, develop and collaborate, to open us up to paths and worlds we might not have considered. However, like many creative degrees it did not lead you directly into a given career.
During my final year I worked mainly on installation based artwork, culminating in my final piece, 'Internal'. An interactive live installation focusing on the beauty of the internal body, through textile sculptures, lighting and soundscape.
I remade the work in 2018 as part of the international SPILL Festival of Performance at Ipswich Art School Gallery.
Whilst I have not reprised my work on 'Internal' since, I think it's something I would like to return to in the future. There are lots of possibilities, paths and forms it may take, and still it's message to wonder at the beauty we hold within, to understand our bodies, to observe and pause and appreciate what we are made of, bares relevance everyday.
On returning to Suffolk, I began painting to fulfill my need to create. Performance art is a different landscape, and stripped away from the University setting, Suffolk didn't provide much community in that area. Although not trained in painting, it felt like home, a comforting way to quietly create.
My style developed over time, from observing pattern, colour and place. My paintings are inspired by these things, a colour pallet, a home, a feeling, a sunset, a holiday and I nearly exclusively work in watercolour paints. I enjoy creating controlled details, contrasting with moments where the paint flows within the confines of a shape. Colour is so important to me, to be able to explore different pallets that will be attractive for different people in these little moments, I believe it is the colours that will bring you joy.
In 2019, I launched Thrive. It had always been a dream to have little shop, and it happened by chance that I came across our current space at Helmingham Hall Gardens. Thrive began and continues to be a place to bring together the work of local artisans. From printmakers to jewellers, textile artists to ceramicists, I wanted it to be a celebration of the talent we have here in Suffolk and East Anglia. My passion is curating a collection that sings together and I get to work with the most amazing bunch of makers, artists and small business owners that all share so much passion and love for what they do. Because of that, my mission is to share that with the community. To share the message of supporting small, the people behind the product and the power of your pound. We all need to change some of our shopping habits, and over the last four years getting to know and build this community has brought me so much joy but also the reality and struggles of every small business. But when you buy from an independent shop or local artist it really does make you feel good, and trust me you'll want to do it again and again, to know you're helping someone follow their dream, supporting a family and rewarding a learnt skill, it's way better than filling a CEO's bank account to fund a private jet!
So what's next... for Thrive, we will be returning to Helmingham for the Illuminated Gardens Trail on the 18th November - 18th December, so plans are getting in motion to sprinkle a little bit of festive magic your way. I'm also looking to schedule some festive workshops so make sure you're signed up to our newsletter to be the first to know.
My own work has definitely taken a back seat over the past two years as I've focused on Thrive, but I will be working on a new collection of paintings and prints and am excited to be taking part in Arts and Crafts at Blackthorpe Barns on the 3rd and 4th of December. Earlier this year I also began an online course in surface pattern design, so when I get a moment I will be trying to master Adobe Illustrator and developing some new products for the spring!
Thank you so much for staying with me if you got this far! I guess that's me for now, please do comment or contact me if there's anything you would like to know more about.
We're open at Helmingham Hall Gardens and you can view my exhibition as well as a studio sale of some older pieces until 18th September 2022. (Opening hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays 11.00-16.30).
// images courtesy of Megan Rose Clark//