the artist teacher blog

A first foray into teaching adults.

This has been an exciting and interesting few months in my world of art and education. I’ve worked in state education for so long and took for granted that I was given students to teach. I was therefore surprised when I started my own business that students didn’t flock to my classes, as I had distributed leaflets in Highgate Village and had a social media presence. I know I have a great product but marketing and knowing how to attract new students has been a huge learning curve.

My classes are growing, now with a regular clientele and the work produced by my group of lovely but rather unconfident students has been fantastic. They have achieved pride and success in their artwork. They obviously have had an interest in art in their lives but it was never nurtured or encouraged. I try and direct my classes to the individual and tap into how they learn and what blocks them from acquiring skills. There is so much psychology in teaching. Please get in touch if you’re interested in joining the class on Friday Mornings.

I love teaching this class. See some of the results are displayed in the gallery below.



Printmaking workshops at UEL.

I’ve been to many print making workshops at UEL run by the brilliant printmaker Glen Marsden. I know my pupils in the school I work at, have benefitted from his inventive approach to the art. He has also run several artist teacher workshops and this year I explored photo screen printing based on my ‘Little Humans’ work and stencil mono printing based on the Plashet School exhibit at ‘ArtMatters2018″ exhibition, responding to the paint poured puddles we created. See below for outcomes.


Ideas and the ego

I’m really proud of our installation this year at the Newham Art Matters exhibition at the UEL created by years 7&8. It started with inspiration from the Japanese House exhibition at the Barbican Gallery. I researched a variety of Japanese artists work and decided I wanted to create Marikami’s Mr Dob with year 8.

This made me consider ownership of ideas and how the journey of collaboration changes the work into something unexpected. As a teacher you give away ownership of your concepts to pupils and colleagues in school and to others when the work itself is exhibited. There can be no ego in this context but eventually whomever is higher up in the management hierarchy receives the credit.  Then again the concepts have been inspired by gallery visits and other artists work prior to this and once exhibited they give away ownership, although they are protected by copyright.

My MA in Contemporary Practice and Education helped me to integrate my teaching with my art practice and this certainly enhanced both areas of practice but it did mean that I had to release ownership of my ideas to others. The Art Matters show allowed me to use the themes I’ve worked with in my fine art practice and create a thematic collaborative installation.

Having a practicing contemporary artist in the department meant that it was natural for contemporary art to be integrated into my schemes of learning and this followed into the department. I wrote my MA thesis around this idea and planned lessons based on conceptual maps. We then worked with Adobe Youth Voices to create a film in response to my own film relating to my alter ego Kalinka, and the stories and transferred memories of our ancestors, or memories attached to objects, which resonated with our pupils, particularly as we were all 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants.

Our installation this year is a response to contemporary art, particularly of Takashi Marikami, his global appeal and his connection to historical and contemporary Japan. The installation takes the form of a slightly mad garden setting. This work is now on display At Westfield, Stratford from the 2nd August 2018.



I visited Barcelona for a hen do recently. Frolics aside, I visited Gaudi’s Casa Mila and was blown away by the stunning architecture and the creativity involved in hiding all the services beneath grand structures. How extra ordinary these buildings must have looked when they were built. Anyway there was ample opportunity for strong photographic compositions. I feel an organic sculpture lesson coming on.



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