Lesson Three - Gail G.


Firstly, I have now had the courage to read all the other comments from people on the course, and it is wonderful to feel part of a community, most of whom have similar feelings to the same problems.  I particularly related to the person who said she had given up work 6 months ago, and still felt unable to “justify” spending her time on “art”; I aim to give up in 6 months, but the idea of committing myself to my own wishes is very scarey.

I am also surpised and grateful at how much help writing things down is...I think it is the sending off to someone else whom I don’t know (and will not meet!) frees me up.

So to the Committee:

  1. My headmistresses at grammar school (secondary school) had the nicknames of Pinky and Perky!  They were 2 spinster ladies who lived together (?), were dedicated to teaching girls (an all girls school), and to getting us to university in the 1970s.  The idea (or so I heard--others did not apparently) was to go to university, do a proper subject, have a career and gain independence financially and go into the world.  This meant no art, science subjects, a science degree, a law qualifiction and a career in public service, all of which I enjoyed.  Having gained so much, to give it up is A CRIME and a WASTE, and DOES NOT EARN MONEY!  However it gave me up when I had to care for my mother for 10 years, and since then I have worked part time for charities and schools.  Now I have the opportunity in 6 months to give up work, but see above for the voices...
  2. My father was very surportive of my interests, and loved art, so the house had all sorts of books and pictures and objects; he died too early.  My mother however was of the school of PROPER WORK, probably because she was of the generation who could not work after marriage (?).  She was very frustrated and although did a lot of sewing and taught me, she also gave me the message that working outside the home was the thing to do, and also finanical independence.   As far as mother was concerned, making was a NICE hobby, even exhibiting or selling a few pieces.  She is now dead, but still lives with in my head.
  3. My sister insists I could make money at selling quilts (she does not listen) and make a new career out of making.  I do not want to do this, I want to explore the art Iike to do without being committed to selIing for a career; does this make my work less valuable? 
  4. I am lucky enough to be part of one long-term group of artists who exhibit.  One of them is a very well known, successful textile artist in the region, who has at least one exhibiton a year with one group or another, and always sells well.  Her work is very creative, precise, well-framed, and in the style of PICTURES which hang on the wall.  Although she has always been supportive to me, she is a scarey character, who goes her own way (knows what she wants) and I am terrified of (???), since she has strong views.  She is SUCCESSFUL, a TRAINED ART TEACHER, INDEPENDENT and STRONG MINDED.  I hear that as very CRITICAL.  [This is probably not true.]
  5. My tribe  for some 21 years with my previous partner was happy to support MY HOBBY but there was never any one who really understood what I did, except in respect of quilts for family members.  [This is probably not true; this is what I felt.]
  6. My current partner is very supportive, but likes “real art” and categorises what I do as CRAFT, which is respecable but not in the same category as the REAL THING.

Oh dear! this is terrible, how can I be so laden with silly prejudices?  I have taken art evening classes, City & Guilds Part 1 qualifications, exhibited, and still have feelings of inferiority.  I have been making for 20 years, and still feel unable to value what I do for either myself or for the value in the work itself.

Writing this is very enlightening, so rather than tidy it up, and make it sensible and coherent, I will leave it as it is.  One success recently has been setting up the backroom as a Studio (like the one in the attic) so I will add a picture of my working space--note I live with an academic who has too many books!  I am trying to do a piece on the Paris attacks, after visiting a Pollack exhibition--you can see the influences on the boards.