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Maria Laidlaw - Three Dimensional Design

Maria Laidlaw Profile photo with jewellery
Mature student, Maria Laidlaw, describes herself as a late bloomer, someone who always wanted to go to art school but never quite did until later in life. Having always been happiest working with her hands in a creative capacity, Laidlaw says she was so grateful for the opportunity to study Three Dimensional Design at Grays.

Canadian born, Maria has a rich cultural heritage having lived in Australia, Borneo, Uganda and Scotland. These experiences exposed her to a creative and rich community of artists that influence her work today.   

Maria's work has a strong design philosophy and her degree show features a collection of jewellery that re-uses and remakes beautiful things from discarded materials. She hopes to inspire other creatives to embrace this practice into their own processes.

Speaking about her work, Maria said: “I have always been quite practical and really dislike waste of any kind.  As a result of our times and a desire to work more sustainably and ethically, it only seemed right to use materials that could be repurposed in some way.  I feel very passionate about this and believe that artists and makers can be pivotal in changing social perceptions.  Their work is powerful when it provokes thought and creates conversations.

“I adore old things and am inspired by their stories - whether it's material, architectural or historical.   I hope people who view my work will consider its material legacy.  Through the slow process of handmaking,  I gain a sense of grounding and pleasure and hope that joy is imbued in the work.”

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As for others thinking of returning to study later in life, Maria said;  “It is never too late to go back to university to study.    Gray’s has given me this chance and opened up a whole new chapter in my life.”

“Gray’s Three Dimensional Arts course is a wonderful course for those who like to design and make.  The beauty of the program is that you can choose any medium and are encouraged to work collaboratively - this provides a lot of scope for exploration either creatively or from a product design point of view.  The tutors and technicians are very encouraging and knowledgeable - nothing is impossible, they are there to help you nurture your dreams and aspirations.”

Upon graduating, Maria is seeking opportunities to work collaboratively with other artists and plans to continue making bespoke objects with repurposed materials.  She plans to sell a simple range of pieces online and also hopes to present her work in private galleries. 

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