Michaela M.

Dismantling the Committee

When I read through the assignment for this week my first thought was that this is going to be tough as I don't' think I have a 'Committee'!  I am fortunate to be in several groups, which I have either been a member of for years or have set up myself and pretty much everyone in them is like-minded and incredibly supportive.  We often email or speak to each other about how wonderful it is to be able to get together and share our love of textiles, mixed media or art in general.  I have also had a couple of wise tutors for many years who are now wonderful friends who, although sometimes quite tough when criticising my work are always positive and always suggest a way to move on and will always praise me if it is appropriate.

I then started to think about this 'Committee' a bit more, as there is definitely something stopping me from creating as much as I would like.  It then struck me that when I was at school I was told in no uncertain terms by my teachers that I was 'academic' and therefore couldn't waste my time doing either art or needlework classes.  I was a pathetically shy little thing, even as a teenager, and the thought of disagreeing with any of them never even entered my head so I gave up my beloved creative classes and just got on with my studies.  In fact, I think I actually gave up on art altogether at that time as I stopped drawing and creating anything much for many years apart from following knitting or sewing patterns.  My secret desire was to go to art college and my dream job would have been to work in the costume department of the BBC!  This, of course never happened, although I still wonder what it would have been like to have tried following that dream!

It wasn't until I was well into my 30's with a proper 'academic' career that I began to turn back to my art and once I found it again I immersed myself by taking every class and workshop I possibly could in my spare time.  I even did a full time 'Foundation' art course for a year in my 40's as my husband has always been very supportive and he was happy for me to indulge in my creative passions.  I did think I would go on to art college then but somehow felt I was too old and what would I do if I did!  It was far to late to get a job in the art world!

I now realise that the main person on my Committee is Me!  I am the one who has limited my horizons ever since I was told I shouldn't follow any creative classes at school.  Looking back, I now realise I was never actually told I wasn't any good at art.  In fact Mrs Edwards who taught needlework always said I was an excellent pupil and I can remember being praised by the art teacher for one particular piece of work.  However, I think at the time I took their advice to be 'academic as a negative move and somehow got it lodged in my head that what they were really saying was that I shouldn't persue any artistic activities as I wasn't good at them!  It is my expectations that I don't live up to and so I find it easier not to push myself.  If I haven't made any art today then it can't be bad art whereas if I have done something then there is always the chance that I won't like it or will find fault with it.  

I think just realising that the elephant is finally out of the room and I am my own worst critic is a big step forward!  Now all I need to do is try to listen to everyone else a bit more and to quieten the negative voice in my head!