So this is the end. The end of 3 years dedicated study. The end of 3 years of intense research, playing catch-up with art history and philosophy of art. An amazing 3 years of expanding horizons, challenging tutors and fellow students, access to an amazing university library and different departments.
So a time for thanks.
Thanks to the university library staff, especially Richard Swift who patiently sourced books for me and accepted (and bought) recommendations from me of books I thought they should have in the library.
Thanks to the members of staff in different departments who found themselves accosted by this weird weaver doing fine art, questioning them about their subjects, and asking for reading recommendations – Jean Bennett from the Art Therapy department who gave me insights into the work of Ellen Dissanayake and introduced me to Rosalyn Driscoll, and suggested hanging my work in Allestree Woods; Adrian Watson from the Geography Department who suffered me sitting in his undergrad lectures asking lots of questions and catching up with the theories of plate tectonics; Roger Suthren and Dorothy Satterfield, Geology, who suggested I sat in on Adrian’s lectures and were excited about the work I was doing, seeing its potential as teaching aids for undergrads; and Jackie Williamson, the weave professor, and Charlie the technician whose occasional support have been much appreciated.
Special thanks to Tom Hackett who patiently guided me through the basics of art philosophy, pushing me gently into the MA programme of theoretical study and encouraging my naive questing for understanding and my initial ignorant questions; and Sebastian Blackie, the course leader of our multi-disciplinary course (now sadly disbanded!) for his encouragement and searching questions and critiques.
To my fellow students who diminished in number as the course wound down until there were only 3 of us left. With their probing and skills from other fields, they challenged me in ways that textiles students would not have. Not having the textile background, they asked questions which made me realise the extent of knowledge which textiles people absorb without being aware they know it. I had to reappraise everything I had done and now do with eyes open to different ways of seeing the work. They suggested ways of thinking which I had not considered. They encouraged, challenged, praised, and critiqued, and without them I would not have developed in the way I have.
To my class cohort of Carol and Steve, especial thanks. We have been through a lot together, personally, professionally and as students. We have laughed, cried, supported, accompanied, and encouraged each other over a taxing 3 years during which time each of us has had major personal challenges to confront.
And now to the future.
The results come in next week but all the work is done so it is time to focus attention elsewhere.
Thanks to the Professional Weavers Network of New Zealand, and Creative Fibres Forum, I have a wonderful 2 month tour of New Zealand to look forward to starting in March. This is the trip of a lifetime and I am so excited!! To be working my way around a place I have longed to visit for many years (but never thought I would) is just an amazing thing! So in the time between now and then, I have to focus on collating all the workshop information and double-checking it, writing my keynote speech, brushing up all the lectures I am giving, and weaving the final work which will go in the exhibition that takes place in New Zealand – a collaboration with Agnes Hauptli. Plenty to keep me occupied and inspired.
And from my MA research weaving, I have so many ideas to try out that I shall be working on this for many years to come.
So farewell MA and hello to the rest of my life!