is it beginning . . . or not?

This Diploma of Art and Creativity I’ve enrolled in, the package for distance students arrived and I avidly went through book that accompanies the DVDs.   To my dismay there was little there I wanted to do, I’m not really interested in drawing or painting people, landscape, or a still life and these aspects feature heavily.  Please don’t misunderstand me, this is not a criticism of the institution and the quality of the materials is great . . .  it has nothing to do with that . . . it is their relevance to me.  I’m a maker with a primary interest in textiles, a mixed-media person who enjoys exploring the qualities of a material (even paint however I’m not particularly interested in creating representational paintings)  Perhaps I should have known better after I left the end-of-year exhibition underwhelmed and disappointed that there was little that interested or intrigued me.   Some lovely artwork but the only textile in sight was a piece of hessian stapled in folds, ‘last minute’ to quote the artist, to a wall as an exploration of the fabric’s qualities and that type of installation art just, well it does nothing for me and has little to do with textiles although that was indeed the medium.

There were plenty of forms to fill in and I do hate forms, and, horror of horrors, a questionnaire.  I loathe and despise and will resist filling in questionnaires to my last breath.  Fill your life in on this form, put yourself in a box on this questionnaire  . . . no thanks!   So much rebelliousness has surfaced, it’s never far below, and I’ve once again had to stop and look at the driver.  I’m the driver, never the passenger, in my life so I need to look at this rebellion surging up with objectivity and talk it through with a friend . . . who fortunately for me rang when she read my mini-rant of an email.  In this instance my Inner Rebel has an investment in the things as they are.  The Inner Rebel is emotional while the Questioner is objective . . . and I wonder and question a lot!

Now I need to say at the outset that there is no compulsion to use any of the resources I have been sent on DVD and in the supporting book.  I can work independently, set my own goals, do the work, record my hours, keep a visual diary or workbook, work through the creative process and send it all to my mentor who will do what good mentors should do . . . give me constructive and supportive feedback based on my goals (which he might have helped me formulate), maybe challenge me, offer some guidance.  I’ll need to be accountable for putting in the hours, conducting my own research and arranging and any tuition I might need.

Giving that I will be finding instruction elsewhere, books, courses etc., and the word ‘textiles’ does not feature anywhere in the literature, my question is, is access to a mentor all I’m going to gain from this?  It’s not entirely about the money however the fees do represent a return flight to Europe!  From New Zealand!  The longest distance possible!

Or I need an accountability partner?   Someone who has the similar needs, form a reciprocal  relationship where we make goals, work to meet them and then report back . . . we’d give each other constructive and supportive feedback, maybe challenge each other, offer some guidance.  Hey!  Did that sound familiar?

I will have 8 days to become convinced that this Diploma is good value and right for me.

A little something I've been playing with . . . local stone, harakeke/flax, pearls and silver crimps. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A little something I’ve been playing with . . . local stone, harakeke/flax, pearls and silver crimps.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

 

21 thoughts on “is it beginning . . . or not?

  1. sounds like, its not the thing for you mum …… and if you did it, would you complete and then feel that you have ‘wasted’ your time and energies ?

  2. I will come off the fence so you can argue back and maybe come to a decision. The diploma is called Art and creativity and by art they don’t mean textiles, they mean painting and drawing and that is where the mentors expertise will lie. You will be forking out for a lot of course materials you will then substitute for other materials which you will have to source yourself and pay for if not in money then in time.
    There are lots of distant learning courses out there with textiles in the title. Go for one of them instead!
    On the other hand…. All good textile artists need to be able to set their ideas down on paper and plan their work. This course could help you with this stage. What it probably won’t do is help you translate plans to textiles.
    I did a city and guild creative embroidery course and we did a lot of art projects as well as fabric work.
    Hope I have helped a bit, suggest you contact the course providers about the suitability of this for you.

    • They have a wide range of classes and courses on-site including 3D, Design, Photography, Videography, Computer Graphics but no Textiles. There is no compulsion to do ANY of what they have sent, I can write my own goals however I must comply with the marking criteria for each goal and produce a number of works in 3 major and 3 minor areas over two years. I would end up paying for addition courses if I want to learn by any other means than trail and error.

      I can already paint and draw well enough for my own purposes but have no desire to paint ‘works of art’ any time soon and I have no need for a house full of bad paintings stored away, painted while I get better at it. There are too many bad paintings in the world already and for me, it seems like a waste of time and resources.

      My mentor has been allocated and his areas of expertise are 3D and painting, and from what I’ve read on his website could be a good match . . . and although our media are different, we’re both tactile artists.

      Thanks Cathy

  3. Read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gillbert. It made a difference for me with a similar decision. Are the artists you admire most getting this kind of degree? Will you have regret if you say no? Do you have access, otherwise, to people to learn from and time to experiment? Between you and me and what I know of you, “good enough” is not going to be good enough.

    • Good questions for me to ponder . . . thank you. And of course you’re right, “good enough” is never a satisfactory final outcome for me but “enough is enough!” is sometimes what you’ll hear me say. I know when to stop, to bail, to move on.

  4. i find this extremely interesting and hope you continue to write about this experience,
    your thoughts….how you are going to process these questions you have, make a
    decision. I would love to participate in such a course IF it could help me orient to where
    i am and help me go forward to where i want to go. WITH WHAT I DO. Having no
    even vaguely formal education in textiles, i run on intuition and love. What i have
    learned i have learned from Jude Hill. What i feel like i am missing is a source of
    interested evaluation and well…critique. FROM a textile artist. But looking around,
    i see very little that appeals to me, so since i find self more and more focused on how
    i spend the days of my life, i will probably just keep winging it.
    So, Thank You very much for this post and again, i hope you continue to share
    your thoughts as you go….

    your Stone is elegant and Alive…

    • Oh Grace . . . I’m looking for similar things! I know I need to be nailed down to a line of thought, a line of work, if only for a single project. I know I need to exert some self-discipline! And yes, Jude is a wonderful teacher, her teaching is such a generous vault she has made available. But critique, and thoughtful questions, the suggestion of options, challenges, are what I need. If I can have than, even from someone whose work I admire yet not necessarily a textile artist . . . that’s what I need. There are a lot of highly skilled people offering courses but very few offer critique. For the most part they offer compliments and encouragement but rarely critique . . . perhaps out of fear of offending. And I’m thinking distance enducation may not be for me, the on-site and distance options are very diferent. I feel I have no time to waste, or money for that matter, on what doesn’t move me forward.

  5. Hi Wendy,

    I wasn’t completely surprised to see your post this morning. I must admit that I have wondered two things: 1) What would this structured program, that sounds rather far-afield from your art, offer to you? and 2) Would the resulting credential be helpful to you?

    Your mention of an “accountability partner” brought me back to the women’s writing group that was essential to me during the last year and a half of writing my PhD dissertation. We met twice a month, and discussed each other’s chapters, articles, etc. It was a wonderful few hours of stimulating discussion and good company. And, when my next chapter was scheduled for discussion, it gave me the all-important deadline! It gave me a sounding board and structure.

    In the twenty-first century world of Skype, I suppose geographical proximity wouldn’t be essential. I think you may already have in your life as an artist, the people you need for this. You may be able to cobble together a creative group that can help you grow with your art, instead of making you, to some extent,” fit into the box.”

    Coincidentally – today at my water exercise class, I mentioned my desire to write and my positive experience with the writing group, to a friend who is a published author. It turns out that she meets each Wednesday with another friend who writes. If her friend agrees, I may meet with them sometime and see how the mix of personalities works for all of us.

    If you decide to go ahead with the diploma program, I will, of course, be a supportive friend. I am, though, glad to see you giving this more consideration,

    Let me know,

    Kathy

    • The structure seems not to include what goals you can make in developing your art, I can write my own, do anything I like but on my own, at my own expense. I’m not lacking in initiative however I wonder what will be made available apart from the mentoring . . . and I don’t know exactly how that will work although I have a fair idea from a friend who has done her diploma.

      There is a focus on painting drawing and I had to go way back to find 3xpaintings and 3xdrawings to submit with my application, and it was only in the 3x3D examples I could draw on anything recent. I’m thinking that for on-site students there is so much more opportunity available regarding access to teaching and workshops however 1 day a week over the summer term is all I want to commute . . . 1:15 each way is quite a bit. The distance student resources are basic and traditional for the most part although there are prompts for taking everything further. It was unfortunate I didn’t get in to my either of my preferred workshop choices. Perhaps the Diploma is more suited to people who are just starting to explore . . . I’m not sure. The resources are actually very good but not appealing to me and of course a few more letters after my name means nothing. I need to talk to my mentor before I make a final decision.

  6. I did a distance learning course which was mainly art and it didn’t work for me, I stopped fairly early on realising it just wasn’t right and you lose out big time with the cost if you start. If you are not one hundred per cent sure about this course my personal opinion would be that it isn’t right for you.
    Many local textile groups will critique each others work, face to face and positive feed I feel is usually more rewarding if you have any local groups explore those first.
    Love the stone.

    • Thank you for telling me of your experience Debbie. I’ve since spoken with a friend who has done the Diploma herself has confirmed, that for students who work 3D or in textiles, distance study is not the best option. I’ll need to talk to my mentor and a couple of the tutors.

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