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How the Pandemic Kick-Started My Business

Words by Rosie Gore of @rgcolours and @baxandgore

The past year has been incredibly challenging for everyone. To help me work through it, I’ve tried to look to the silver linings, and have found it reaffirming to see so much creativity spring up in the face of such adversity. Last April, I left my teaching job and planned to go travelling around Central America with my partner. This obviously didn’t happen! However, this did finally allow me more time to invest in my practice, which has been absolutely amazing.

So, in a strange way, my creativity has had time to flourish over this peculiar year and I am so thankful for that and all the new opportunities that have arisen.

I live in South London and my studio space is at the top of my house. This means I get the pleasure of watching the sun rise and set each day. My desk is by the window so I get lots of natural light flooding in. Over these lockdowns, I have enjoyed cultivating a glorious indoor jungle, which has really brought some of the outdoors in! When I’m working, Radio 4 or Bonobo is quietly on in the background and a lavender scented candle is burning.

My practice explores my love of layering colours, shapes and textures, working predominantly with acrylic and ink, to create visually pleasing compositions. I take inspiration from both our natural and manmade environments, employing smooth curves and sharp edges in different works. I love playing around with bright, fresh and delicate pastel colours, which remind me of warm spring evenings on British beaches, wooden shuttered houses in hot summery France, and tiny Sardinian fishing villages adorned with pretty doors and boats. I love to layer more bold colours with these pastels to create eye-catching pieces. Using these colours, I experiment with clashing patterns; bright ripples, vibrant swirls and bold stripes. Through my pieces, I hope to inspire feelings of delight, intrigue and exploration.

My first collection, Seaweeds, is based on swirling, smooth seaweeds, corals and dazzling, dappled waters. With these lino cuts I explore pastel colour combinations to achieve the prettiest and most pleasing prints. First, I sketch my final ideas on paper and paint on the colour overlays. On paper, I complete my final print design and decide whether it will be relief printed or the opposite. Relief printing is when the ink or paint is kept in place because certain areas of the block are carved away, leaving other areas raised. Next, in pencil, I draw my designs onto the lino and then simply carve the drawing out. Finally, on large sheets of paper I play around with the colours and positioning of the prints. I love the effect of the soft, curved edges of the seaweed with the multi layered colour combinations.

Inspired by Richard O’Gorman’s @Househomo interior, my second collection was a limited run of ten mixed media disco ball prints. Disco in the Arches combines the mediums of lino printing and marbling to capture the feeling of spinning, sparkling disco balls surrounded by reflecting gold leaf speckles.

My third series, Stormy Skies was inspired by my travels around France this summer. Watching cloud filled skies close in over the vast, turbulent sea. These works once again combine my love for the medium of lino printing and marbling. When marbling, I swirl pastel and bold colours together into pools of water to create revolving, twisting compositions reminiscent of clouds dancing in the sky. I hope my spiralling colours evoke the feeling of an unsettled, fast moving sky.

Running your own small business requires lots of juggling; there are so many things that I didn’t consider at the beginning. But it is so great when someone receives your work and loves it. Having this time has allowed me to really spend time experimenting with different mediums, tools and materials. This experimentation has led me to a new, very exciting collaboration, which currently has me working every hour under the sun with my pal Tom (@themellowmaximalist). We have just set up our own little homeware company called Bax & Gore. We create one-off handcrafted textiles and vintage treasures that we have sourced, designed and revived ourselves combining our two distinct styles into unique and striking pieces.

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