A Bradford man hailed as a master decorator has told how his life changed after taking a leap of faith.
Gavin Meehan spent two decades working in the building trade as a kitchen and bathroom fitter. But he embarked on a career change after experiencing two mental breakdowns.
A conversation with his wife spurred him to explore the world of Venetian plastering. Venetian plaster is a type of polished plaster where textures – such as marbling and rock like effects – are carefully built up in thin layers.
Gavin trained up as a ‘master decor’ in Italy, the birthplace of Venetian plastering, and has since taught in Europe.
In just two years of owning Meehan Interior, he has taken his masterclasses to Belgium and received invitations to teach in Miami and Mexico City.
He also became an ambassador to the training centre, Italiano Stucco. His global career and ability to teach has been unexpected, Gavin revealed.
“I hated school,” said Gavin.
“I always used to skive school. I’ve got no GCSEs. All I’ve ever known is how to work. I’ve worked for builders, shop fitters. When I was at school I used to do three days a week. The two days I’d go work. But you don’t need an education as long as you’re willing to work and learn in the building trade or any industry. Show willing.”
The dad from Allerton trained himself up through courses and perfecting the art of plastering with free work.
His first big project saw him transform the walls of Aldo’s Italian in Greengates.
“I thought I needed a change,” the Allerton dad said.
“I’d been following Venetian plastering for a while but my wife pushed me to do it. It just keeps growing and growing.
“The industry is just growing. More and more people are getting to know about these finishes. They’re taking over decorating. It’s natural looking, it’s an Italian, decorative finish like water marble or bits of material.
“I like to do the more subtle stuff like cloudy effects on walls. I never expected it to go like it has done. I never expected to be a teacher either.
“Every job I used to take on it used to be around Bradford or Yorkshire. I’d never travel anywhere else.”
In a message to others, he said: “Don’t hold back, life’s too short. You don’t have to be a plasterer, you don’t have to know anything about plastering at all. The people who plaster 9 times out of 10 are ones that struggle the most.
“I’ve started at the bottom, but I’ve had to, then I’ve learnt more from that. I’m glad I’ve done what I’ve done.”