As a team, we also have a mission to support community regeneration and employment opportunities for young people in the North East of England. We work in partnership with local colleges and universities such as Teesside University, New College Durham and Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form to offer practical training and employment to young people.
ABOUT THE BRAND
Gillian, Mom-trepreneur; business owner and mum of three. Her inspiration and devotion to artistry has enabled her to create products which bring the outdoors, indoors. “I received my BA in textiles at John Moore’s University going on to study my Masters at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Religion taught me a great deal about being an artist. It helped to free me from my self-made constraints and improved my creative ability. I went on to work as a community artist and freelance designer in London for fourteen years. I also worked extensively with people in deprivation and addiction, the homeless and in church groups reaching out to people living on the very extreme margins of society. I learnt two very important things: firstly, the art and the activity of producing beautiful objects, can bring about powerful wellbeing in anyone; secondly, creativity could act as a levelling ‘bridge’ between these deprived individuals and the partners and donors who wanted to benefit them.
The business came about when my husband Tim questioned me, “I married an artist – when are you going to start doing your own work?” This spurred me on to pursue my own artistic goals. I was then six months pregnant, sitting on the studio floor, creating new canvases, ceramics and jewellery, which later that month we began to sell at Greenwich Market, soon becoming regular traders. As trade grew, we started to invest in the business with the new equipment, bigger premises followed, as did trade shows and wholesale opportunities across the UK. Eventually, Tim quit his job and we moved to Tim’s hometown of Bishop Auckland to set up our first studio. Bishop Auckland was an exciting town with new projects in the region aimed to being creative regeneration back through the Auckland Castle Trust, the Eleven Arches Trust and other enterprise agencies and counselling. We aimed to play an important part in this as we can offer practical creative training, skills and jobs to be unemployed young people, apprentices and interns; as well as mentoring new business start-ups and creative entrepreneurs.
After around three years, in April 2018, we decided to move to our new shop in Darlington, as we needed a large retail space to expand as a brand and to undergo our retail shop, workshop, production office. We chose Darlington to establish ourselves as a central destination location for interiors and craft in the North East. This also means that we can offer more training for young people in the region and offer workshops to adult artists and creatives looking to expand their skill base and knowledge.”
Gillian is a passionate artist with a keen eye for botanical design. Without her, there would be no Gillian Arnold. We have her to thank for her inspiration into English wild plants and blending them with bold colour patterns to create inventive luxury products for the home, gifts and personal items.
Gillian’s husband Tim helps run Gillian Arnold with production and performance responsibilities. Tim helps to formulate and successfully implement Gillian Arnold’s policies.