Lesson Three - Catherine G.

The Committee

          Well, as others have said, this really is a pretty challenging assignment. I’ve been thinking about it for days. My first thought was, I don’t really need a committee to perform this function because I’ve been my own committee for, really, all of my life. Thinking further, I did remember a few people who could have been on my committee in earlier years. There was the scary Miss Brewis, my English teacher at school, who told my mother at parent’s evening when I was about thirteen that I had no imagination. Well, that hurt. But, it ceased to hurt a long time ago, and Miss Brewis herself was only about 25 when she said it, and I think dishing out that kind of hurtful criticism is something that’s a lot easier to do when you’re young and have little experience of life. So, I forgive you Miss B. There was also the art teacher, Miss Biles, who was very dismissive of my puny efforts. She was also probably about 25 at the time, and now I look back, having experienced the teaching of some excellent artists, was an absolutely hopeless teacher. So I forgive you too, the other Miss B.   

           I do have a problem with what I’ve seen referred to as ‘imposter syndrome’. I have no formal qualification in art apart from a few adult education certificates and my City & Guilds Diploma in Stitched Textiles (I’m very proud of them, mind you). But I have not been through an undergraduate art programme, and I do have some trouble because I feel like an imposter in this world. This being the case, almost anybody with a degree in art can turn up and be on my committee. And they probably are.

          But, I’m back to where I started – my committee is completely overshadowed by its chairperson, me. In that capacity, I am a monstrous, critical and unforgiving figure. I recently went through many hours of psychotherapy which was very revealing and very useful in all sorts of ways. But one of the things that struck me most was when, only half an hour or so into the therapy, the psychologist said to me ‘but do you see that you are unbelievably hard on yourself?’ And the thing is, I hadn’t even properly realised I was doing that when I was talking to her. That very recent experience is one of the main reasons why I signed up to this course, hoping to gain some more insight into just how this business of being so hard on myself makes life difficult as I attempt to be a maker.