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TRCH David Suchet

Art Works: Julie Vernon

22 October 13

"There’s something special about the colour gold, it elevates an object into a source of pride and glory"

Eighty individually designed Gromits took to the streets of Bristol for ten weeks from 1 July to 8 September, and they will be auctioned off for the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal Charity in October. To say I was over the moon to be selected is an understatement - over 500 international artists applied, standing alongside some iconic artists, illustrators and designers including Sir Peter Blake, Quentin Blake, Sir Paul Smith and Cath Kidston.

This was also my first attempt at 3D sculpture and I really wanted to stretch myself and see what I could achieve. I spent every hour of the day for two months working on the project and used over 10,000 individual mosaic pieces, many of which were cut and shaped by hand. It was all consuming and I felt pretty exhausted by the end of it. However, I am extremely proud of the end result and have enjoyed observing people’s reaction to the work. When it featured on the Wallace and Gromit official facebook page it received over 6,000 likes in one day, it’s been an incredible way to get my work out there.

My design was inspired by the golden Buddhas in Thailand, and also the 2012 Olympics when post boxes were painted gold in the hometowns of medal winning athletes. There’s something special about the colour gold, it elevates an object into a source of pride and glory, I wanted to create something highly decorative with a prestigious feel to it. Mosaic is a tactile medium, I wanted to encourage people’s instincts to touch the work and explore the detail and sense of movement. The design is entirely free hand so nothing is uniform. I used three different types of gold coloured glass to create the effect and had to ensure that the tiles were both UV resistant, so they wouldn’t fade in sunlight, and frost resistant.

I started my creative practice three years ago following a mentoring scheme called Notts Creative 2010. As well as exhibiting and selling my own work, I work to commission, run a programme of workshops and get involved in a wide range of Schools and Community Arts Projects. Gromit Unleashed has given me a taste of what it feels like to have a piece of art out in the public domain. It’s given me a real buzz and I would absolutely love to create something for Nottingham if the opportunity ever arose.

Feeling inspired and want to have a go for yourself? Julie is running a one day mosaic workshop in Nottingham on Saturday 26 October. Details are on her website.

Julie Vernon's website

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