Gladys was born in Surrey, England, and is a self-taught artist specialising in collage. With a family history including two magicians, a carpenter and a seamstress, creativity has always been encouraged to blossom. However, her creative journey was far from straightforward. Ignoring discouragement from her schoolteachers, Gladys decided to study Fashion at East Surrey College in 2006 and after a wonderful two years there, she was excited to continue learning and accepted a place at Ravensbourne University London to study Fashion Textiles. She had high hopes for the future but after a period of exhaustion and illness in her final year, she fell behind. Whilst she frantically tried catching up to avoid missing her place in the hotly anticipated graduate fashion show, it was not possible, and she required an extension to complete her collection. The stress of this experience shattered her confidence creatively and after graduating, she decided to pursue a traditional career path with the hope of getting her creative spark back one day.
Gladys spent the next decade working in various sales, marketing, and leadership roles, and whilst there were pockets of success throughout her working life, she felt unhappy and unfulfilled. She realised one aspect of her life that contributed to this was that so much of her time revolved around screens; Working on a computer all day, watching TV after work, and then scrolling through social media before bed had become the standard. She was now conscious of the fact she spent so much time passively absorbing and the itch to create instead of consuming could not be ignored.
After this epiphany and rediscovering textile prints created at university, Gladys was inspired to get creative again. After experimenting with a couple of different mediums in her spare time, she developed a passion for collage. Creating art awakened something within her – a much-needed zest for life and a sense of fulfilment that had been sorely missed. Her renewed creative journey had only just started when the Coronavirus pandemic was beginning to unfold. The UK went into lockdown and shortly after, Gladys was furloughed from her job. She suddenly had a lot of time on her hands, and she used this rare opportunity to spend all her time creating. She began to explore life’s simple pleasures through her art and knew she was finally on the right path when she woke up feeling excited. Then, when she discovered redundancy was on the horizon, Gladys decided to fulfil her lifelong dream of starting her own creative business and launched in February 2021.
Collage is the art of reinvention and in Gladys’ work, she is redefining what it means to be a collage artist by pushing the boundaries of what can be created with paper. With the aim to generate a fresh, exciting perspective on things we often overlook, Gladys brings each piece to life in a fun, maximalist style by combining bold colours, a variety of textures and lively patterns. In today’s world, our lives are constantly in the fast lane with many things vying for our attention. Creating her work by hand helps her to slow down and reconnect with the simple pleasures of life and the joy they bring. Gladys predominantly uses food and nature in her compositions and unlike most collage art seen today, her collages are created in the style of a jigsaw puzzle with every piece of paper precisely cut and placed so every element fits together harmoniously. The focus of Gladys’ work is to reveal the hidden beauty of quotidian objects and to inject a bit of happiness into everyday life. It is also to elevate the medium of collage, to create work that is perceived as highly creative but beautiful.