Cloud 9, 165 Irish Street, Dumfries DG1 2NN
Tell us a little about what you do and why you love it?
I’m a visual artist based in Dumfries, interested in nature in all its forms and exploring these in a range of media and techniques. This gives me the freedom to be a painter one week, a textile artist the next, a photographer… such is my curiosity.
Art to me is meditative. It helps me to solve problems and work through issues. Coming from a dark place, it has given me the confidence to be a better version of me.
What makes Dumfries and Galloway special to you?
I moved to Dumfries and Galloway 25 years ago after living in suburban Birmingham and then Manchester. I’m more comfortable in nature than in cities. I love that on my doorstep I have unbelievably beautiful scenery that inspires my work daily.
Are you involved in other arts and cultural activities?
I’m a bit of a champion for Dumfries. I co-ordinate Dumfries Art Trail, linking galleries, artist studios and craft shops in the town centre. I promote the town whenever I can, hoping to share what’s great about the town with anyone who’ll listen!
What projects are you involved in right now?
At the moment I’ve got my big ‘I Love Dumfries’ badge on and I’m currently exhibiting a series of photographs of Dumfries, in revamped second hand frames, and textile vases, made from charity shop off-casts. The exhibition encourages locals especially to take pride in their town y looking at it through kinder eyes.
Hopes, ambitions or plans for 2016?
On a personal note, I’m exhibiting at Kirkcudbright Arts and Craft Trail in July, which is always a total joy to do!
Cloud 9 has been gradually building itself up over the past five years and now that I am running it full time, I’d like to see more people aware of its presence. I still surprise a lot of people when they ask how long the gallery has been open!
I’m also hoping to build up the therapeutic side of my business, offering art as part of a toolbox towards recovery. It helped me; I’d like to see it help others.
Have you always been in this role?
I came to the region as a primary school teacher and worked in Annandale and Eskdale schools until 2015, latterly as a part time Additional Support for Learning Teacher.
Teaching is something I love to do, so it is natural for me to want to build the workshop aspect of Cloud 9.
If we asked a friend to tell us something surprising about you, what would they say?
Julie is a Star Trek fanatic and would love to explore the universe on a Galaxy Class Cruiser. Imagine the art work that could inspire!