That Was Then and This Is Now

I have been  putting off doing this post for ages. I have neglected and missed my lovely blog for to long. Purely for lack of time. But it feels like I have forgotten how to do it or where to start.

So I'm just going to do what I do best. Ramble. Maybe a stream of thought will emerge as I go along.

I have missed this, missed connecting through here. Oh I know there's Facebook and it feels like a lot of the blogs I used to follow have stopped posting and switched to posting there or on Instagram but I want to fight that trend. I'm digging my heels in. This blog, started originally as a way to store photos when an old pc was dying, has brought me so much. Friends, confidence to explore, an improved mental attitude (through Rocking Fridays - thank you Virginia) my first sales, confidence to go back to school, BACK TO SCHOOL! At 38. I was so flaming scared. But the support through here and by my family had me doing a Maths GCSE and then a pre-degree Art & Design course. It's been a weird and wonderful couple of years.

Isn't it funny though that the platform that helped me most has also been neglected the most. No more.

I have just finished the Art & Design Access. That consisted of 2 weekly rotations in Fine Art, Fashion & Textiles, Visual Communication and 3D. With Photography intertwined between them all. You then picked one of them as a pathway to finish the rest of your course on. Now I started this thinking I was going on to a Fine Art degree - mainly because I couldn't find any Illustration degrees locally but I had found a part time Fine Art degree at Canterbury Christchurch. Had attended their open day, seemed really amazing and they had guided me towards the UCA Access but told me not to let them steal me. Sorry guys.

I absolutely hated, with a passion, the Fine Art rotation. My head and heart just does not get Fine Art. At least, not what we covered in those two weeks. I add that last bit because a friend is currently doing a Fine Art degree in a different part of the country and I absolutely love what she is producing.

I was dreading the Fashion & Textiles rotation and was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it. Lots of illustration involved, that helped but also the tactile nature of textiles. Loved it. Towards the end of that rotation I also took myself off on an outside workshop which involved sketching with thread - I'll post about that another day. So I was actually torn between Fashion & Textiles and Visual Communication in the end but went with Vis Comm for a couple of reasons. Illustration was a big thing in there. A friend who was going into Fashion warned me that I might have to go in extra days for sewing workshops which I just couldn't do and she did end up going in nearly every day. I was also worried it would be heavily fashion based and I really have zero interest in that.

I learnt so much in Vis Comm, we covered Typography, Graphic Design, Illustration, different artists I'd never heard of... some I knew their work but not the names... The input and feedback was brutally honest but not nasty. It was all helpful and positively enforced with what to do to improve. How to push yourself and take things further. Think outside the box (and sometimes realise, you know what? I'm getting back in my box!) And yet I don't think we even scratched the surface. I want to learn so much more.

So we come to the end. We had 10 weeks leading up to our final pieces that were then, and still are until the 12th of June, exhibited. Mine was based on Folklore - it changed loads over that 10 weeks. I ended up basing it on my local area and creating a new folklore legend from animals that are abundant here. I used lino cutting which I never had before and I taught myself through Youtube videos.

Am I happy with my final piece? Yes and no. I had intended there to be four different images. I managed one 12 x12" image. I seriously underestimated the designing time, ended up cutting - I think it was 4 versions of my final tile before I was happy. Then you see the exhibition and there is all this amazing work on display and I just wish I had got done what I wanted done.

BUT...

It is the best thing I have ever done. I am not one for saying I like my own work usually but I frigging love my final piece. It may not be enough to get the grade I was secretly hoping for. In fact I know it isn't. But I love it. I love the detail in it. I love that I persevered to do one really good piece rather than a few mediocre ones. I love that I taught myself to do it. There is literally blood, sweat and tears in that thing. And I am super proud of it.
Carmen Wing : Werebatbunny - lino print
And then there is what happens next.  I have accepted a degree place at Canterbury UCA on their Illustration & Animation degree - a new course which is why I never found it before. I have deferred for a year while Mr Bear is still half days at nursery. In some ways I am a little heartbroken to do that. In other ways, it gives me time to think. 

This year has been one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. It's also been one of the most stressful and knackering. I'm going to try and go self employed this year, properly focus, not just mess about. I have signed up to and been accepted on an English GCSE course... I've also taken out a years subscription for classes with The Society of Visual Storytelling. Sooo... still going to be pretty busy. Plus - the Illustration degree does not do part time. I find it really odd that the same uni that caters for you to prepare for uni part time doesn't then allow you to do the actual degree part time. It doesn't work out part time at all when you add up what you do at home but I don't think I could physically get myself there and be back here for school times. I'm going to go on an open day soon and have a chat with them about  my options. Surely I'm not the first to come up against this problem. BUT if I can get myself enough work in the meantime I may not even need to go. I will miss my desk buddy who is starting there this year, different course but same area of the uni. But - like I say, going to be busy anyway.

Well will you look at that? I rambled long enough that I got myself a blog post. Now that I've dipped my toe in I am going to come back soon and do a more pretty one showing some stages of my final piece and some other bits from school. Plus - I am taking part in and determined to actually finish ICAD this year. I'm going to be dragging out and dusting off my sewing machine to explore textiles a wee bit more.

 Looking forward to catching up - thanks for stopping by today :)

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