It has been a week since the assessment of my final degree work. This consisted of two modules. Negotiated Extended Practice has run since the new year and involved developing work for exhibition at the college’s Arts and Media Summer Show. Professional Practice has run for the same duration and deals with professional identity, finance, studio practice, career planning and general progression as well as the set-up of the exhibition itself.
I was nervous about the live assessment by a panel of four lecturers, which takes place in each student’s exhibition space. I felt at the time that the feedback I received was positive, the charred wood being a favorite I think. Ironically, this is a found piece, the work being the recognition of its potential. I felt that I was able to be heard about my work and that the assessment panel understood why I had presented the work on display.
One week later however, the conviction I felt about my work and the importance of the making is being overshadowed by ‘the mark’. It’s amazing how quickly my attitude can shift. I have had a difficult year, personally. Don’t we all? Life just gets in the way of what we think we need to do sometimes, but just a couple of months ago I made the decision to stay on the course and manage to pass somehow. I had considering deferring for the year but everyone who knows me well advised me to keep going. I’m so glad I listened! So I took the pressure off myself and rather than striving for the best grade of my life, I told myself it would just be enough to pass. This gave me the space in my mind to start making again -I had become creatively mute and the only work I had made previously reflected this.
You were there in all that I saw.
Stood with one foot in madness, the other in mourning,
My hands became mute
I was blinded by metaphor”
Becoming purposefully creative again was such a great lift. My work seemed to support me and vice-versa. I received some very positive feedback during our private view. This was the first time I had ever made work specifically for exhibition and it was so interesting to hear people’s interpretation of the pieces. The show has been open to the public for the last week, closing tomorrow. Almost all my postcards have been taken and lots of business cards too. This is all fantastic but there’s no more I can do and I so want to do more than just pass.
I think I’m really writing this for anyone who is struggling towards the end of something. The beginning and the end are always the hardest parts, especially if you are a maker. If you are a creative, and stuck in yourself or holding yourself back, find some small way to let yourself begin to make again. Be kind to yourself, if you can, accept some help. Martin Creed likens the creative process to being sick, vomiting. Sometimes it’s awful, but then it comes out and you feel better. And now I really understand what Edmund De Waal meant. Make pots or die.