Friday, 21 March 2008

Once Upon a Time.....

.......I was an art student. I studied Glass and Ceramics at Sunderland Polytechnic, which became the University of Sunderland in my final year when the government decided to scrap 'poly's and turn them all into 'uni's.

I was based in a lovely old Victorian building called Backhouse Park, sitting in it's own grounds. It was nicknamed Fraggle Rock, and we art students were referred to by the more 'academic' students as Fraggles, because of our colourful hair, clothing and nutty behaviour. I loved being a Fraggle.

This is me as an art student, holding Yellow Ted, who is my life-long friend, quite literally.

Before I went to college I loved art; drawing, painting, doodling, designing..... College killed it for me, having to justify everything all the time to tutors who's work you didn't actually rate, and who seemed more interested in coming out with glib comments, instead of actually teaching you anything. It was artistically draining and exhausting.

College social life was great, I had fantastic friends, and that's where I met my husband. But the time doing the course was life-sucking, and it has taken me nearly 15 years to start drawing again.

How I dream of being immersed in a stimulating environment, surrounded by like-minded bohemians, with tutors who are mentors, and access to facilities I could only dream of at home - printing presses, kilns, woodworking and metalworking workshops, glass furnaces, acid baths, sandblasting guns, sunlight, hot chocolate, the smell of turps, the sound of Mendelssohn....
But I don't think that place exists anywhere. Van Gogh wanted to create such an environment when he invitied Gaughan to his Yellow House. But it quickly fell apart. If I won the lottery, I'd build my own Yellow House, and you're all invited to join me.


indigo said...

SNAP!!!! I was an art student at Sunderland poly in the 80's. I did sculpture. I almost changed course to do Glass and Ceramics. It was in it's first year and was not an honours course at that time so I stayed with Fine Art. But you have described exactly the way I felt about it. My creativity was stiffled not developed and its taken some time to get over it.

Stonehead said...

Interesting. I felt the same about metalwork. I loved working with metal, but absolutely hated the way it was "taught". I'd have loved to work with an old-fashioned blacksmith who could make anything and was more than happy to pass on his skills and expertise the younger generation.

Unfortunately, I've never found anyone prepared to do that, so what little I know is either self-taught or despite what I was taught. It's still fun, though.

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