I was asked recently, why I don't make use of my degree, what was the point of doing it etc.
My first response was to tell them it wasn't anything to do with them and to butt out but then I thought about it further.
After taking my son around different universities for him to check out, he could see I was very interested by my excitement in the different departments, especially art and crafts. He said “Mum, why don't you go, give it a try, if you don't enjoy it you can stop”.
There was an Open Day at my local college so I went along, thinking I would have to do some A levels (I had none) in order to get into higher education - I was wrong. They quickly informed me that I could do an Access course in Art & Design and I signed up. I was now a student and quite a frightened one at that!
Anyway, the first few weeks were exhausting to say the least and without fail, I cried my way through every drawing class - I absolutely hated them. The theory side of things had to be undertaken to be believed, nothing short of mental torture trying to get the old neurons stimulated. Anyhow, I persevered and succeeded.
The college was a partner to our local university so I could do most of my art degree with them also, although some of it I would have to travel over there to complete. Five people from the Access course joined me although one promptly left when she realised she had to be a bit more serious in her swotting.
The previous Fine Art tutor left just as we joined and the new chap took time to find his feet. I took to him like a duck to water (as did most of us mums). If any one got shirty with him, we dressed them down in front of the class – they soon shut up.
I had no idea where I was going with my studies but had begun them out of sheer interest and eventually achieved great enjoyment. I had no plans for my future, much to their dismay.
Anyway, the tutor finally saw, before me, where my interests lay and gently guided me towards them. He was of a similar ilk so was a great guide.
The essay writing got harder and harder and I thought I would never manage the dissertation but by then (the beginning of the third year) I was in my stride. None of the others in the class understood anything I was doing or saying. By this time, I didn't mind, I was truly enjoying myself and was making friends with like-minded artists around the world (take note KMB amongst others!).
Anyway, I graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art but was still hungry for more. I chose the same university to go to that was the partner to our college. I could access them by rail rather than a long road journey to, what was in hindsight, a better suited place.
They didn't do a Masters in Fine Art but assured me that my skills would manifest themselves in printmaking as a digital art. I hated the tutor, he was completely stumped by my work and after making many rude and often callous remarks, I realized I couldn't continue. After just 10 weeks, I had enough of the whole shebang. I decided to grit my teeth, force myself through the first year and achieved a Post Graduation Certificate in Printmaking.
After a break of almost 9 months, I don't want to do any more studying. I most certainly don't want to teach in any form, neither do I want to make a career out of what I do. I studied for pleasure and enjoyment and for the most part, achieved it.
Now, any work I produce (none for the past 9 months such was the effect of that tutor), I will do for enjoyment. For the moment, I am more than enjoying just being, crafting as and when the mood takes me, and being at home.
So, to anyone else who asks, get knotted, it is my life and I am leading it!
Finally the good news. Having taken the decision to not study any more, I have listed 18 of my books on Amazon. Today, I sold my first one!