When I resigned from my management job back in May, I had hoped I wouldn’t need to work my full three months notice. Maybe just a week or two off for a recovering break or even a quick holiday, hmm? No such luck! I just had two days, which I spent on paperwork, enrollment and getting our flat in order – and not relaxing my poor head, still stressed and wound-up from work. So, this was how I started my first week at art school.
Looking back at the end of my first week, I am very pleased that the stress (and terror) have started to abate and I am now getting rather excited about the journey ahead. We started off with two very positive welcome briefings – one for the whole MA Visual Arts Programme and another, more detailed briefing, from our subject leader for the Designer Maker course. These are the main points I took away:
1. Mindfulness & reflection
Thinking about what we are doing and why we are doing it, and seeking to put that thought into our art practice. I’m not sure if I can call what I currently do a practice yet, although I am finally happy to label myself an ‘art quilter’, although I wouldn’t call myself an artist. After an interesting intro from our tutor on the ethos of the course – I wonder whether this is in part due to the divide between what is called “art” and what “craft”. After all, I’ve never had an issue calling myself a crafter/craftswoman?? Bringing my thinking skills into making will be fascinating; adding layers of depth, considered thought and development to a work instead of just making something because I liked the colour of the fabric…
2. Collaboration and sharing knowledge
One of my key reasons for signing up at Camberwell is so I can meet and collaborate with a wide range of exciting people across the University and make contacts across the industry. If I am going to professionalise my creativity in some way (as of yet unknown), then integrating into the community will be invaluable.
3. Get stuck in!
Experiment! Innovate! We were encouraged to be ‘hungry’ about learning and there is no issue with that from me. I have found that after only three days, I have already refound a passion for research and investigating new issues which I have not felt since I finished my PhD back in 2005. We are signed up to a vast array of material and tool inductions this month, that will be very exciting! I can’t wait to learn ceramics – after playing with Polymer Clay over the summer, I think clay is such an expressive medium. Can you transfer any quilting skills into ceramics? I’ll find out soon!
We finished the week with a visit to the Private Viewing of the Chelsea College of Arts MA show on Friday evening. This covered their 2014 MA Fine Art, MA Interior & Spacial Design and MA Textile Design graduates among others.
I was amazed (and slightly scared) by the quality of much of the work. There is some considerable talent on display. The spacial design and the textiles – as you might expect – caught my attention most of all. I’m not sure I really understand Fine Art. There are some pieces I can connect with instantly, and others (particularly some of the installations) which I just don’t get.
One particularly good piece which fascinated was this from Fine Art graduate Donghwa Lee:
The other stand out displays of the night for me were textile artist Archana Pathak, who had some amazing pieces based on memories and weaver Kirsty Jean Brabin with beautiful delicate weaves, using Shetland Island wool.
Altogether quite a good week, here’s to week 2!