Lesson Three - Anita B.

Do I actually have a committee?

Rather late with this - after 7 pages of scribble talking to myself to try and discover the answer.

My Mum, still going strong in her 80s, has been a big influence and was definitely on my committee for many years. She's a natural artist, painting and drawing with tremendous skill from an early age, according to her mother (another candidate). Although I always loved drawing and playing with colour as a child, it was clear to all (and made clear to me) that I hadn't inherited those skills. I was rubbish at art at school - those awful powdery poster paints, ugh. Looking back, I cant remember any actual tuition - the artistic kids who could draw were taught and the rest of us just dabbled (pretty much my experience of school sport too - good job I was into science!). I think Mum tried to encourage me, but dont have a strong memory of it. My textile skills weren't up to much then either, couldn't handle the school’s or mum's sewing machine, not sure about hand stitching but  knitting, crochet and needlepoint were my saving grace! 

All that changed in my thirties, when I accidentally enrolled on an Embroidery course with a friend. I discovered a passion for textiles and began to see the world with new eyes. I realise now that the creativity had been there all along, just not the skills to develop it. Mum joined the embroidery course some years later and inhabited the same world for many years. There was always an element of competitiveness (she IS a sportswoman!) which I found difficult, as I considered my love for textiles and gradual awakening as an artist to be about my own development, not about comparisons with anyone else (and anyway am absolutely not competitive!) This competitive element gradually subsided as I continued on to degree level and now she is generally supportive. Sometimes she can be tactless and won't engage with me, but I see that as a regret that she didn't pursue textiles as far as her skills should have taken her. Perhaps I'm being a bit generous there and would love her to be more excited by what I do, but thats my regret and I dont see her on my committee any longer.

I wonder if my close friend S, a very good artist, is on my committee? She played a big part in my integration into the local art scene, which has helped me develop enormously. She is a great support - we have worked on a number of joint projects and formed our own arts collective with another friend, she encourages me and I admire her work tremendously. However, she can be quite forthright and very occasionally drops something into the conversation, unwittingly and not with reference to me, but that makes me question my ideas or way of doing things. I suppose the fact that I remember these remarks means they have had quite an impact on me. If I see anyone's face when I'm having doubts or when I'm working on something new and exciting it's S. Is she on my committee or a noble friend? 

I've been to see her today for a coffee, and yes, I think she is on my committee. I dont need her there, I need her friendship not her approval.

Thats rather a surprise to me! This is so good!