Sunday, May 22, 2011

looking back + moving on

It has occurred to me that I haven't been using my blog in the way that I should. I used to write about my progress, analyse pieces of work and document my feelings as I worked. I made notes for a post back in November, which I intended to post after I finished my diploma in December. I completed the course, but chose not to type up the blog post. I want to start writing more here, even just little snippets. For now, here's the post I wanted to share 5 months ago:

I recently graduated with a diploma of visual arts. For the most part, it has been an enjoyable and fulfilling 2 years; I found the most incredible teacher, I met some lovely people from around the world and my skills base has grown enormously. However, sadly the last 6 months have been quite awful. So much so that I would have quit the course given half a chance, but visa and grant commitments had me tied. Our resources were taken away from us, our teachers were forced to resign, our work was damaged or stolen and the owner of the college, once a passionate patron of the arts - who had in the past purchased my work and praised my skills - ignored our pleas for support. The arts department was marginalised and ostracised, when it once it was the very core of the educational institution.

My moods have gone from mildly agitated to argumentative to downright angry with the education offered in the last 6 months. A distinct lack of positive communication or even respect from the management has frustrated students and teachers alike. In the last weeks of classes and now that I have graduated, besides having a great sense of relief, I feel deeply disappointed. We started the diploma in February with such energy and enthusiasm, which to our despair was drained from us over the course of 10 months, to the point that we couldn't wait to be out the door.

Back to May 2011. My disappointment still lingers on, though I do my best to look forward and be grateful for the few good and kind people that I met and the skill set that I gained. These things make my life good and happy. Michaela Kloeckner is now my mentor; we meet every few weeks to talk clay and share ideas. Through her I joined the Gold Coast Potters Association and met more beautiful and talented potters, all of whom have been unconditionally supportive of me as I take the steps toward founding my fledgling business.

[plate throwing, May 2010]


  1. Katy,
    What a lovely post. I feel odd using the word "lovely" in reflection of the deep emotional experience you just shared, but this is my reaction. This post is honest. That is what I find so perfectly lovely. It is so nice to see images of you at work and to read of your experiences. Though these particular experiences are frustrating and sad, there is something wonderful about your ability to rise above the negativity. Obviously you are where you are this very day because of your passionate dedication to your work. You clearly expressed the lack of support from the very institution which should have nurtured you growth, and this makes your story all the more triumphant. Concluding with the quiet picture of you working on your wheel suggests for me the start if something new in your life. The past may not have been all you expected, but I've a feeling the future will be more. I am very excited for your future! I look forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing,

  2. Hello Katy, My name is Tanya & im a clay artist in Sydney. I too would like to commend your attitude and perseverance in trying times such as what you have described. I studied at a TAFE college in NSW that when i started was a beautiful, creative, warm and inviting place to learn (most of the time-though theft and damage was always a problem) but as time went on i noticed some negative changes and since i have left & being in contact with a number of students who were still there until recently, it seems that they too have had similar problems that have affected the ability of artists to be creative and discover their own styles & potential. Im suspecting that budgets of the departments might have been the cause for some of these problems with a lot of pressure to keep the costs down most students found they were having to spend at least half the day on house keeping and recycling clay and litle time on actually creating (though i realise recycling is important it shouldnt be the dominating part of one's day). Ive often thought about returning to further my studies but from everything ive heard, i realised i was better off for the time being teaching myself that what i needed, reading a lot and practising learning from trial and error in my own time and at my own pace. i feel at peace with this decision and am very happy. I hope you too can find your little piece of peace & keep creating, please dont give up on the art but learn from it. Your work is lovely.
    Now for the strange question, i must ask though its far from important, but im curious as to where you got that apron? i only ask as i aquired a box of over 100 of them and shared a large number with fellow students at tafe when i was there. its an odd thing because im sure they were never sold in the shops so i was curious did you ever study in nsw? im on twitter (PotteryFrogLady) if you wish to reply.
    take care, Tanya :-)


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