From pottery painting and screen printing to fairy lantern making and oil painting, Iris & Dora’s workshops have established this thriving studio at the heart of Guernsey’s creative community. A few dabs of a paintbrush from The Duke of Richmond Hotel, it’s a popular stop among our guests, both for its inspired events and its charming gift shop stocked with local crafts. Iris & Dora’s co-founder, Denyse McGahy, is a working artist who facilitates regular screen printing workshops at the studio. Here, she tells us about how the local landscape inspires her prints, and what we might expect from a workshop at Iris & Dora.
How did Iris & Dora come to be?
“I was born in Guernsey, but I lived in Carcassonne in France for a number of years. I moved back to the island in 2010 and initiated Iris & Dora two years later. It sprung to life as a partnership between two friends. We used to fashion wool felted cushions, but, after scratching our heads on how to improve efficiency in our making, we moved into screen printing. Once I began using this method of printing and papercutting, I couldn't stop. It is now what we are best known for.”
What is it about the local landscape that inspires your work?
“It’s the history, the way of life, the buildings and the landscape of the island. I spend a few hours every Sunday on the beach, picking up litter and treasure hunting with my daughters, and every wave brings something new to look at or discover.”
What types of workshops and events do you run at Iris & Dora?
“We offer workshops for both adults and children in everything from screen printing, pottery and oil painting to crochet, sewing and knicker-making all year round. Some are taught by us, and some are taught by other artisans and makers. The newest workshop we have is lampwork – the making of beautiful glass beads – which is something we are very excited about!”
Do you also stock work from other local makers?
“Absolutely. I think it's important to have a base where local makers are celebrated and their creativity enjoyed. As I am a local maker myself, I appreciate how much of an individual gets poured into a piece. Supplying work by local makers is a great way of bringing like-minded people together and we always have great fun at our twice yearly ‘Meet the Maker’ open days!”
Looking ahead, what’s next for Iris & Dora?
“I intend to keep building the Iris & Dora community and embedding ourselves into Guernsey’s wider arts community. I want to help people explore their inner creativity. Not everything has to be a masterpiece – art is about having fun. And, if you get something beautiful in the end, even better!”
Iris & Dora offers an inspiring programme of creative workshops for all ages, just a stone’s throw from Red Carnation Hotels’ The Duke of Richmond Hotel.
Image credits: All images courtesy of Iris & Dora.