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Voyage x Marie Burke Interview Part 1

Following the launch of our new artists series collaboration, 'Voyage x Marie Burke', we sat down with the artist to delve a little further into her story, design inspiration and how our latest collaboration came to life.
Who are you and where do you live?
My name is Marie Burke, Im a watercolour artist and I live in Somerset.
Have you always worked with watercolours?
So I actually started off as an artist blacksmith, working in forged steel. I adored it but having two children made it impractical. I was looking for a medium that I could work around family life and one day I saw an article which inspired me to try watercolours. I just loved it and have stuck with it for about eleven years now.
Voyage x Marie Burke
How did you get into blacksmithing?
I always knew I wanted to pursue being an artist, so after travelling for about seven years after school, I started a course in Design Metal Work. We were offered a smithing module and I just fell in love with the drama and the strength of the medium. After the course finished, I went to Sweden and worked in an old-school/arts and crafts-like college which had an amazing forge and really passionate people. From then on, I continued to specialise in steel.
In both your sculptural and watercolour practise, nature has clearly been a big influence. Why?
I studied the History of Art and was particularly keen on the sorts of curves you would find in art that used nature as a muse. So, whilst my sculpture was abstract, I always had those loose and flowing forms that nature provides in my mind - but realism wasnt really a factor. So, when I started painting in watercolour I really took myself by surprise, as I didnt even consider approaching it in an abstract manner. I delighted in the details, painting sinuous curves and dealing with plant life from unusual angles.
Voyage x Marie Burke
Since becoming a watercolourist in 2010, how has your work and business developed?
Initially I focussed entirely on very large paintings. I entered a few paintings in the Royal Watercolour Society exhibition and luckily, they were all accepted. From that point I began to grow a bit of a following. I started to sell my work all over the world, with some commercial opportunities in America.
But then, three years ago, I had the idea to do tutorials. I started an online membership club where subscribers could join to gain access to a library of watercolour tutorials Ive created. It just took off, with people really appreciating the offer, so my focus has shifted to managing that.
Its been lovely to see the membership become a real community. I enjoy knowing it makes people happy, giving them a chance to paint and be creative.
How did your collaboration with Voyage come about?
Voyage contacted me through Instagram after seeing my feed. They dropped me a message and I thought I would follow it up and see what happened. I had a follow-up meeting with a few members of the team, who were just so passionate and excited about my work and their own work! So, after a good chat, I was keen to collaborate and that is where everything took off from. I have been really surprised and impressed with how quickly Voyage have moved this forward, there seems to be a real energy there.
To be continued…