My friend Kerry and I drove to Warrnambool yesterday to attend the opening of the Graduate Exhibition of students from the 'Diploma of Tapestry' at Scope Gallery. Before the opening we were lucky enough to also have time for a walk at the beach and to go and see Joy Smith's exhibition 'Still Life in the Shed' at the Lighthouse Theatre Atrium. Joy's tapestries as always were beautifully woven small scale works, this time images of some of her mothers' collection of ceramic ducks and her fathers' more masculine tools and men's 'stuff' which included a boat, chainsaw and radio. Maybe not an obvious choice of imagery, but they show Joy's quirky sense of humor and what is better than making work that is highly personal to the artist? If you click here and scroll down to the 2nd August you can see a surprise performance from Joy's opening!
The Graduate Exhibition 'Ascending' was really interesting and showed each artists individual progression through the process of tapestry to what their style and artistic vision is. The style of imagery and subject matter was wide, and well executed. I think that from the beginning of starting out in first year to finally finishing sixth year, you certainly find your path and what interests each artist. It also brought home to me how wonderful it is to go to an exhibition, not having seen any of the work before. I only started writing this blog as a 'tool' to hand in my required progress reports. Sadly anyone who read them saw all of my work that was for my 2 year contract and my graduate exhibition before I completed my Diploma. I suppose the only surprises were maybe the size of some of my tapestries and the presentation, as I framed all of my smaller tapestries behind glass. But still there were no surprises as to what I would have in our exhibition. It confirmed to me what I had written about her before, that keeping quiet about what you are working on before you exhibit it is the best way for me now.
Joy Smith was giving a five day class on weaving tapestry brooches and it was wonderful to see so many of the previous graduates come back to Warrnambool to take the class and catch up with other students. Distance education is not easy and it takes a lot of tenacity to stay motivated in isolation to keep going with it. I have never make a secret of the fact that it took me 17 years to complete my Diploma, although I certainly did not enroll in each of those years. But I also completed 7 years of extra visual arts units at Ballarat University Tafe, had a baby, worked and when people ask me why so long? I usually say that I 'Hatched Matched and Dispatched' in that time frame. I will always regret that I lost both of my parents before I completed my Diploma, but I know that they would have been proud of my achievements and sticking with it. I am the only past student that has been to every Graduate Exhibition since they began in 1994, but I can now say that there are others who have finished and taken longer than me. Two of the graduates in this exhibition began the diploma before me and came back to finish it later on. I think that it is wonderful to be able to do that, as life takes twists and turns and is it really that important how long it took? The saying ' it is not the destination but the journey that is important' rings true to me, as I would not know so many of the past students including those who did not completed the course, if I had finished it in the 6 years that it is supposed to take. I was quite surprised last night, that some of the students past and present came and thanked me for writing this blog and sharing information. I know that there are lots of links to information here about a wide range of subjects, and I suppose that in the 5 1/2 years that I have been writing it I have written about a wide range of subjects. It was really nice though for some people who I have never met and those that I know well to say thank you. It never really occurred to me that it would turn into a resource for others. But I am glad that it has, as it is always good to share information. So thank you!
As for my current challenge? It is dealing with weaving with fibers that behave totally differently. One has little give and the other wants to do nothing but unravel and fray, but I WILL soldier on.