To Top

Art & Life with Valerie Dumas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valerie Dumas.

Valerie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My name is Valerie Dumas, and I am the owner of Gillyweeds, a gift boutique in Historic downtown Newnan. So what is Gillyweed? Are you familiar with Harry Potter? Silly question right? Well in the 4th installment of Harry Potter, The Triwizard Tournament takes place, and Harry must find a way to swim to the bottom of the lake in order to save his friends. He swallows Gillyweed which is a magical herb that allows him to breathe underwater.

Now, who am I? Well, I am a Florida native that is currently landlocked in Newnan, Ga. (5 hours from the nearest ocean). Up until November 2010, I owned a very successful boutique called The Vintage-Flea in our downtown Historic district. When the economy tanked in 2008, I decided to divide our two-story retail space into consignment space.. hoping it would alleviate any financial uncertainty. My plan worked great, but I lost my zest for the business even though we were named Best Gift Boutique three years in a row by Lifestyles Magazine. After six years of store ownership, I decided to sell it all in pursuit of my bliss… my Gillyweed.

In addition to my Floridian roots, I’ve also lived near the beaches of Antigua, Philippines, and Jamaica thanks to my Father who was an international Civil Engineer. I became a Francophile after meeting and marrying my French hunk of a husband, Albert. We lived for two years in the South of France… true bliss!! With Gillyweed, I have combined my two passions- French & Island style.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Gillyweed is a lifestyle market with a tropical style, so we are always doing some form of “creating” at the shop to tell our story. We do everything from constructing displays in order to highlight our products, designing print ads, and producing social media posts. Not only am I a self-employed businesswoman, I am also a self-taught artist. I dabble in jewelry making, making 3D folk art pieces, encaustic paintings, and abstract art. I love to learn new things and try to be a “jack of all trades but a master to none.” This year I am learning crochet, leather cuff making, soldering glass bottles, and watercolor ink painting. Adding unique pieces to my shop is what my customers love the most.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities, and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
This is something that still challenges me every day! If you find the answer, let me know!!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
All my work can be found in my shop, Gillyweeds. We are located in Historic Downtown Newnan on the square. Newnan is such a beautiful town filled with so much history and culture, and we have loved being here over the past seven years. Our hours are 9:30-6pm Monday-Saturday and 12pm-5pm Sunday.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Valerie Dumas/Gillyweeds

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in