Read how Laura took a part-time role at DIWC to allow her to continue to pursue her dream to become an illustrator and about how the women she has met at the centre have been an inspiration to her.
From the peace of a country setting to the bustle of a city
“I grew up in a farm cottagnear Earlston, a village in the Scottish Borders. I loved it and as a child, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
When I went to stay with my Grandma and Grandpa in Edinburgh I found it hard to sleep with the orange glare of the street lights, so my Grandma got me tapes from the library to listen to; Hancock’s Half Hour and Roald Dahl stories.
I’m nearly thirty two now and I still listen to stories every night.
Finding my feet in the world
I went to Edinburgh College of Art when I was 18, to do a BA (Hons) in Visual Communication. I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator – someone who tells stories and draws pictures and I loved immersing myself in that environment.
When I graduated, however, I realised quickly how ill-prepared I was for the ‘real world’, I wasn’t qualified for anything and competition for freelance work was fierce. I had a list of jobs I would like to do, in order of preference – at the bottom of that list was written ‘anything but retail’. I ended up working in retail for six years!
Finding a job where I could be myself
I joined DIWC as a receptionist in 2014. I had just completed an MA in Illustration and was looking for a part-time job I could do alongside my freelance practice. But the Centre has given me so much more than I could ever have anticipated. I have met so many wonderful, passionate, funny, intelligent women and am constantly inspired.
Having worked in places where everything is target-driven and people aren’t valued, it’s fantastic to be part of an organisation that truly values every individual’s skills and personality – it makes me want to do more.
Opportunities and achievements working at the DIWC has given me
In 2016, I submitted a design to the Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail and worked with the Art Class and other learners to decorate the sculpture. Our design raised £8,000 for The Archie Foundation and is on permanent display in Dundee House.
I hope to continue working at DIWC whilst developing my practice as a freelance illustrator/artist-educator. I have a solo exhibition planned for Summer 2018 at Verdant Works, which will feature illustrations inspired by women I have met at DIWC.”
You can visit DIWC’s Oor Wullie Women of the World, which is on permanent display in Dundee House.
If you would like to see Laura’s illustration work visit: buff.ly/2nmNBdG