A PHOTO artist who underwent a metamorphosis after surviving a life-threatening illness has opened a new exhibition at Helmsley Arts Centre

Julie Cowdy work is inspired by my journey through art – being a fashion and textile designer, an art teacher and interior designer, before falling in love with photography.

She said: “I’ve always been creative. I studied at Liverpool Art College, then gained a BA(Hons) in Art & Design: Fashion/Textiles at Gloucestershire College of Art & Design.

“After having my own businesses designing and making first wedding dresses, then children’s wear, we moved from Crosby to North Yorkshire. I then retrained as a teacher and subsequently taught art and English, briefly at Pindar School, then at Norton College for 14 years. I thoroughly enjoyed my career, until a life-threatening illness struck in 1999 and I was forced to retire through ill-health in 2002.”

Julie said she had retrained in interior design and decorative started another business as a property presenter, but had also fallen in love with photography.

“Around 2010 I joined Malton Camera Club, then a couple of years later moved to Kirkbymoorside & District Camera Club and tried my hand at a variety of photography, although flowers have always been my favourite subject. “

Julie said: “I was having some success, winning trophies and doing well in competitions, but there are so many wonderful photographers out there that recently I realised I’d need to specialise in one area to progress.

“My husband came up with the answer: combining my art with my photography. “

Julie said it was 20 years this month since her metamorphosis, after surviving a life-changing illness.

“The chance to hold my first solo exhibition couldn’t be more timely,” she added.

“My images, created by changing photos from their original state, into something different, are a reflection of life, changing as mood or circumstances dictate.

“I hope they offer something multi-layered, both in terms of what people see and how they respond.”

The exhibition runs until March 29. For more information go to www.helmsleyarts.co.uk