Many hold the ambition of growing their hobby into something that can earn them money – whether that’s as a business model or for charity. With City College Peterborough that ambition can become a reality.

As part of our college community we often hold open days and exhibitions, in the College, throughout the city and beyond, to celebrate the work our students’ create – but to also give them an opportunity to grow their reputation as an artist and to sell their work.

Gurdeep’s story
Gurdeep Matharo has been a part of City College Peterborough for over 17 years, starting as a student when her sister recommended yoga at the College as a therapeutic activity as she recovered from cancer.

Since those yoga classes, Gurdeep has gone on to take part in cookery, painting, pottery, upholstery, screen printing and even ICT courses at the College. Gurdeep’s help has also been much appreciated in ceramic supported adult learning classes for those with disabilities.

Gurdeep explained why she has such a passion for learning: “It’s a chance to go out and meet new people. You’re always learning and I like to learn, I’m not afraid of trying new things.”

Turning a hobby into a fundraising venture
Amongst keeping her schedule busy with lots of other activities, such as pilates and aqua fitness, Gurdeep finds time to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support – a charity very close to her heart.

“I try to raise as much as I can for Macmillan. I started with a coffee morning at my sister’s house, where we held a raffle and had plenty of teas, coffees and cakes available. From that morning alone we raised £1,000,” said Gurdeep.

Raising funds for Macmillan was Gurdeep’s inspiration for selling her artwork and pottery: “After helping in ceramics classes for disabled students, I found I wanted to start doing it for myself. Since then I’ve taken all the exams the College offers for ceramics and painting,” she explained.

Gurdeep realised that her artwork would sell well after her first exhibition at the College as part of an exam, “During this first ceramics exam I sold everything! Then the same happened for my screen printing exam too.”

“I started selling my ceramic work and art work to support Macmillan and since then everything I received went to the charity. However, in the future I think I will start to take a small portion to help fund materials for my future creations.”

Now doing exhibitions through the College on a regular basis, Gurdeep’s work sells fantastically and proves very popular: “At a recent event with the College at Peterborough Cathedral I sold vases and paintings and I know there was interest in buying other work too.”

Gurdeep’s artwork is unique, with her acrylic, and sometimes watercolour, paintings showing a ‘twisted’ style where the scene appears to swirl. In pottery, Gurdeep creates ceramic balls, vases and decorative plates using many different glazes.

Gurdeep’s printed creations are also very popular.

“You’re always learning”
Despite being an accomplished artist and her work selling very well at the College’s exhibitions, Gurdeep still finds she’s learning more: “I’m still learning how to use new materials. For example, I’m currently trying paper clay, which is much lighter to what I’m used to. But you never stop learning and it’s great to learn something new from new tutors at the College.”

Come and see Gurdeep’s work…
If you would like to see some of Gurdeep’s work, alongside creations by other Peterborough artists and College students, come along to the Peterborough Artists’ Open Studios (PAOS) event at the City College Brook Street campus.

The PAOS event is a free exhibition of students’ arts and crafts, on Saturday 27 June and Saturday 4 July from 10am – 3pm. You can find out more here. If you tweet about the event too, using the hashtag #winpaos2015 you could be entered into a prize draw to win £100 to spend with the artist(s) of your choice!

If you’re feeling inspired…
Why not sign up for a course at City College Peterborough? The course could help you to meet like-minded people and grow a hobby, or it could just help you turn a hobby into a fundraising or business venture.

Browse our arts and crafts courses or call us today on (01733) 761 361