This time has been a fantastic opportunity to reflect on where I started, exploring where I am now in relation to artistic practice, and preparing for what’s next.
In 2019, I graduated from AUB’s BA (Hons) Textiles course. Completing the degree gave me many transferrable skills, like knowledge and understanding of materials, experimental and investigative methods, and developed drawing skills.
Continuing with further study, I began a Master’s in Fine Art, which led me to push my research skills and expand my knowledge, while bringing clarity to my identity as an artist. What I wanted to get out of the MA in terms of the above was certainly achieved, exceeding my expectations in its contributions to my practice and my own personal growth. Before the MA, I viewed drawing primarily as a method of recording information and ideas. It was part of the process for me, more than the end result – though I had also viewed it for aesthetic purposes, as well as illustration-based works. During the MA, the structure of the course allowed for full freedom of exploration, which changed my perceptions. My openness to new possibilities widened my understanding of what drawing could be, and I have recognised more depth in drawing than my preconceptions originally had me believe.
Many opportunities throughout the MA began to expand the idea of what drawing can be. Such turning points included the workshops lead by Professor Sian Bowen in the CRAB Drawing Studio, which truly opened my eyes. The space, the tasks, the freedom – it all worked together. The first piece I made after this moment could be defined as an action-based art piece with process documentation. I hadn’t previously considered performance or action-based art as drawing, or even part of my practice discipline. I can say with certainty that the MA enabled such changes in myself and my work.
As I developed across various methods of experimental drawing, my confidence grew not only within my work as an artist, but in myself, pushing me to apply to new opportunities. One example was working with the Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP). As a result of my achievements, I was selected and awarded an opportunity as one of the student creatives.
Reflecting back on this opportunity and my master’s experience further, it supported skills development throughout my artistic practices and my career. As a result, the way in which I think critically has broadened my outlook on my work, myself, and the world around me. I’ve found that I’m seeing in a new way, under a different light. My work with MoDiP has prepared me professionally in practical ways, through writing proposals, working with artefacts and objects, and working to deadlines for the curation of exhibitions. Alongside these elements, the communication skills required increased my own competency while I learnt more about the museum overall. I’m not only grateful for all the development I came away with; I also considered it a very enjoyable experience. Responding to that broad brief of using objects for inspiration within my area of specialism made me think differently about how I might approach my own practice.
Using a variety of experimental methods, I was producing works that were 3D, 2D, and in spaces that were both physical and virtual. My understanding of space and how I interact within it became the foundation of my final project on the MA. I see these research, investigative and practical skills that I’ve gained standing me in good stead in the future. It has fostered new confidence in me and given me interest for working within the museum sector and with their collections, further to my study.