25 July 2024
  • 25 July 2024

People: Caroline Gormley

on 1 January 2019 0

Artist Caroline Gormley, co-owner of Made in Paisley, talks to us about her art gallery, community workshop and studio in the heart of the town centre. 

What’s the thinking behind Made in Paisley?

We want to make art accessible to local people, not just professional artists. We sell vouchers for all our classes, and although we welcome professional artists, we also welcome beginners, everyone. 

Children included?

Absolutely. We started off doing children’s classes at the weekend, and now that’s grown to four. We’ve got a big waiting list for those classes. The kids love it, they actually had their first exhibition in December, which Mhairi Black opened.

You run it alongside fellow artist Alexander Guy. How did you meet?

I met Alexander in 2012. He ran a charity in Glasgow along similar lines to this, and he taught me how to paint. We found that we both had the same idea of what a space like this should involve. I’m from Paisley, but I had to leave to gain these skills, so it made sense to bring it back into Paisley and give people this opportunity.

What do they gain from participating in your workshops?

They find their place in amongst like-minded people. You get people who haven’t painted since school and people who just want to brush up on their techniques. We’re very fortunate in that Alexander is an international artist. They’re getting a wealth of experience and talent, just by walking into a shop on the High Street.

Tell us about your involvement with the Paisley First Wall Project.

For the mural on Storie Street, they put a call out for artists. Myself and Alexander put in a proposal of a sketch of a wee girl, and that was chosen. We took it further into a competition for local children to pose in the same pose as the original sketch. They picked a wee girl called Eva Rose, whose image is now on that wall. That’ll give her a story to tell her family, and that’s important when it comes to public art. It’s got to engage the community, so why not actually have an image of someone who stays in Paisley on the wall? She was delighted.

What’s your ultimate goal?

The 2021 bid has made people more aware of Paisley’s cultural heritage and how it’s going to be in future. It’s going to be a town built on creativity. It’ll never be what it was, so you just need to change it. We can do that by inspiring and motivating people to be creative, to do something that maybe they’d only ever thought of in the past. Alexander and I want to work with other organisations next year to take Made in Paisley forward into being a part of something else, something bigger. 


Favourite part of Paisley: Dykebar green belt

Best place for dinner: Pendulum Scottish Kitchen & Bar

Favourite artist: Alexander Guy (no he didn’t pay me a fiver to say that, it’s actually true)

Made in Paisley can be found at 69 High Street, Paisley, PA1 2AY. 07793 057151. This feature was published in Mill issue 3, January/February 2019.


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