Thursday, 19 September 2013


Three days in and it's been a whirl of ... well, not much really.
This was on the inside of my cupboard door
of my desk ....
Don't get me wrong - it's still extremely exciting, but formalities have to be plodded through before the fun (ahem, hard work) begins.

There are 14 of us on the course - 13 females and one male. I'm slowly putting names to faces and ice is beginning to break and melt among us. Three of us are 50 plus and the rest are all young enough to be my daughters! (And son).

I can't help thinking: Why are they talking to me? Don't they think I'm so old? I overheard one say she was going to her father's 50th birthday party this weekend. (I had mine last year. I got inexcusably drunk). But then Chloe gets on the train this morning, the stop after mine. I wasn't 100 per cent sure it was her, as I had only glanced at her the day before and didn't even know  her name. I asked her in the uni studio and yes, she had got on the same train so we chatted about where we lived, how we got to the station etc. And she is lovely! We ended up getting the train home and talked all the way (but I still kept thinking that she thought .... etc).

After a session of talks about art materials, student activities and more about the course, we finally got to show our summer projects. Only about half the group had done this, ostensibly due to their not receiving the brief until late on in the summer.

We were put, by lecturer Tami Stewart, into mini groups and she deliberately split up a group of four students from last year's foundation course, who have been superglued to each other so far.
So I got to show my mad over-the-top organic acrostic sketchbook monstrosity to Assam, Bethany, Lizzie and Saqia (sorry, may not be the correct spelling). We hadn't even compared work in a group, so my little corner got an exclusive view. Reaction? A few 'mmmms' and a little round of applause at the end.

Assam went next. I don't know Assam yet, but he (yes, he) is coming across as a lovely, sweet, sensitive, funny guy. His rambling project arrived in a large cardboard box, but before inviting us to view its contents, he serenaded us with delicately hand-embellished materials; a treasure trove of a sketchbook; and finally his 'project' - a mannequin torso with a stream of hand-cut paper shapes cascading from one shoulder down the spine.

Bethany had received the brief late but had created some wonderful artwork with the theme of fantasy. Saqia and Lizzie had brought their portfolios from their foundation course; each was unique and inspirational.

(The summer projects will be displayed in the cabinets at the Yorkshire Craft Centre very soon!)

Today we visited the Bradford Textile Archive - a top floor treasure trove of materials, designs, annotations and samples from yesteryear. I was particularly taken by a box of contents which had once belonged to a George Stead - he had carefully noted in impeccable handwriting all his comments next to samples of pyjama material, filling in the entries in hand-bound books. I don't know anything about George, I'm not even sure when he was around, although one date could have referred to 1949.

One small thing - yesterday afternoon we gathered in the National Museum of Media to get together with the other BA students (studying graphic design, fashion, fine arts etc). However there was no mingling to be had as we were ushered into the Pictureville cinema to watch the new release Rush. I was extremely reluctant to have to waste two hours watching a film about Formula 1, and even asked to be excused, but was encouraged to attend.
Guess what - the film was brilliant. It was more about how we change as people, and overcoming adversity. It was uplifting and moving. I told my pragmatic friend Chrissie about this experience and she told me to pin a picture of a still from the film on my desk in the studio so that whenever in the future I was loathe to do something, reluctant or negative, I could look at the picture and be reminded that sometimes something you don't think you will like can turn out to be an amazing experience.

Now I just have to find a picture of James Hunt and Niki Lauda to stick over the minge graffiti on my cupboard door!


  1. Lorain - great posting - I felt the same at the beginning of my degree but remember as a mature student you have experienced more life, views and will be more adaptable. Younger students bring a fresh eye, views etc but you can both learn from each other. I recently read a book and a paragraph said "the world is full of amazing people - it's just that a lot of them are old and people forget to ask them" your not old but you have life experience and as a mature student will work hard to gain the best and most you can out of the degree. You have great tutors all bringing something different - keep posting it a diary of your thought processes and can often help you "see" an idea more clearly or it just helps work through. I look forward to reading! Xxx carolAnn

  2. It's absolutely great that you would take it upon yourself to document your experience of university! I'm looking forward to hearing more of your adventures, and with your attitude, I know you'll go far! All the best, MaxWell B. xxxxx