Hello, Victoria, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you start of by telling us about you and your work?

Hi Louise, thank you for including me in your blog, I’ve had a very creative career working in the prop making industry then making soft furnishings and toys to now painting and making paper clay sculptures. I love painting animals but nowadays my work focuses mainly on cats and dogs. It’s the way they fit in with our lives and have individual personalities just like people, not only are they beautiful they have a sense of humour and that’s what I like to portray in my work.

What medium do you work in and how would you describe the work you exhibited at Secret Severn this year?

I paint with acrylic paints sometimes I like to use collage and wax pencils to give depth and more interest, and my sculptures are made from my own recipe of paper clay, the texture of the clay is quite lumpy giving it a rougher finish compared to other clays, it’s also air drying which I prefer…there’s no cracking or breakages to deal with. I find it lovely to work with, the texture makes my sculptures look a bit like sketches in clay. As it was my first time exhibiting with the Secret Severn, I wanted to make something eye catching so I sculpted a large greyhound which is nearly 3ft tall, it was a challenge, and I loved every minute of it!

Is this your first time exhibiting with Secret Severn? If so, what inspired you to include your work and take part?

Having only moved to Ironbridge last year I wanted to take part in this local exhibition as a way of meeting people and promoting my work, it was very successful I’ve met a lot of local artists, Jan Parks has invited me to add some of my work in her gallery which is wonderful. I also had an interview with Clare Ashford for BBC Shropshire Radio which was a nerve-racking but a brilliant experience!

I hear you had a successful show – how was the experience for you?

As well as having my work on exhibition in the main gallery I also did an open studio which was something I’ve not done before, it was successful in many ways, I got to meet some of my new neighbours and the opportunity to sell my work in person and talk to likeminded people which is always inspiring.

Why are art shows such as Secret Severn so important, both for the individual artist and for the art scene regionally and nationally?

These sorts of shows are so important because being an artist can be very solitary way of life so it’s a great to connect with other artists and meet the people who like your work, you can’t beat the feedback and the interaction of meeting people in person can give you especially if you spend most of your time talking to people through social media. It also gives you something to look forward to, to start a new body of work and plan for, sharing the experience with your followers and a chance for people to see your work in the flesh which is always better than on screen. Promoting the art trail also puts our beautiful Gorge on the map which can encourage people to come and visit who might not have heard of Ironbridge before. Equally it gives visitors to Ironbridge a little something extra to help them enjoy and remember their visit.

Outside of Secret Severn, how can people discover more of your work?

You can discover more of my work online through my website www.victoriacolemanart.com I’m in a couple of galleries listed on my website and updates can be found on Instagram @Victoria_coleman_art or Facebook Victoria Coleman artist or seen in person at the Bolthole and now in Jan Parks Fusion Gallery.

Thank you very much.

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