After years of Fine Art dominating the allocation of spaces for the final degree shows, this year some parity was achieved through wrangling and many meetings for the Textiles, Ceramics and Visual Communication MA courses. It helped that this year the number of students graduating from these courses was significantly higher than previous, so we had a stronger voice. Fourteen ceramics graduates showed their final work or pieces from their final assessment seen last January at 44AD Gallery. It was strange to view this work again; last time had been at Hoxton Arches in London last June where I was fortunate to have been given a nice bit of wall at the front of the gallery. Since then it had been packed away and stored in a friends home while I tried to move house. Rehanging allowed rethinking of the objects, experimenting with a different dialogue – mad rings were embedded in black sand on a metal plinth. Greyed scaffold planks leant against the wall, towards each other; draped with skulls, bones, feathers, necklace. A new show, a different story.
Rehanging insists on a critical eye after the event. What still interests me? Anything to be discarded? I still like the mixed media amulets – texture, matt monochrome, decay. The dramatic Feather Boa and the tinkling music it makes when attempting to wind and hang the heavy composites together still enchants me. Using black sand to display the rings intrigued visitors (lots of little finger dents in the surface as people puzzled over it). I was pleased to be able to show Patch of Grass again – last seen at Bath Society of Artists show at Victoria Art Gallery last March. Such an epic piece of sculpture created in a week – so much wire, so painful to make.
As I write, I am still waiting to hear if an exchange date is imminent on a home in Devon. Limbo. Neither here nor there. Plans are impossible, new ideas for making seem distant and unachievable.
Studying for a Masters degree turned my world around. I discovered that I don’t have to specialise in one technique or material – interdisciplinarity is where I thrive – using whatever is expedient to the project or idea, being flexible and adaptable. During my initial research on the first two modules in Textiles, I realised that sustainable practice and ways of living were important to me. To have a low impact on our environment in whatever way possible. To produce and consume less stuff – Slow Living, Slow Food, Slow Fashion. It’s unlikely I’ll ever make a living from making, but I could make a living creatively by using my wide ranging skills and inquisitiveness to save money, and thus reduce outgoings. The move to Devon incorporates growing our own organic food, low impact holiday accommodation to encourage the eco / sustainable dialogue; providing a tranquil retreat, fresh veg, fresh air, fresh perspective on life. Studios will create a space to make with a passion, rather than for an overstuffed marketplace. Classes and workshops encourage like minds to unwind, redefine, rediscover themselves. Cloud cuckoo? We have to dream, to try to make a difference, or live with regrets.